'I just want to thank them': Alta. teenager finds much-needed stem cell match
Published Saturday, December 22, 2018 10:29AM EST Last Updated Saturday, December 22, 2018 10:25PM EST
An Alberta teenager who’s been searching for a stem cell donor has found a match just in time for the holidays.
The family of 16-year-old Roshlind Mance, who lives with a pair of rare blood diseases known as aplastic anemia and paroxysmal hemoglobinuria, announced on Friday that she has found a donor and should receive a much-needed stem cell transplant in early 2019.
“I just want to thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Mance told CTV Winnipeg. “This is the person that is saving my life.”
The family says the anonymous donor is a 90 per cent match to Mance. There’s just a five per cent chance the transplant won’t work, they say.
Mance’s family compared finding a match to winning the lottery in part due to the family’s Filipino heritage. Matches tend to be more successful among people of similar ethnicities, but Filipino people represent less than one per cent of potential donors on the Canadian Blood Services database.
To help find a match, the family conducted two stem cell swapping events in the fall with 655 potential donors. They are planning another event in Vancouver in 2019.
Mance told CTV Manitoba Bureau Cheif Jill Macyshon that finding a match means a second chance at life.
“I have big plans for my life, for my future,” she said. “I can finish school and hopefully finish school in the medical field,” she added.