Albertans have flooded to a donor website, after learning about a five-year old St. Albert girl in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant.
Halle Popowich needs a bone marrow transplant to improve her chances of survival from acute myeloid leukemia, a rare cancer.
Since her story went public, 600 Albertans have signed up to onematch.ca for testing, compared to 50 in a normal three days. Unfortunately, most of those who signed up are outside the ideal demographics.
“Our ideal donor or ‘optimal donor’ as we like to call it are young males who are between 17 and 35, in good health and are ideally ethnically diverse,” said Cassandra DeLuca, with One Match.
She said only about 10 per cent of the 600 have been ideal donors. While they appreciate all those are interested, they are now hoping more young men will come forward.
She said people outside that demographic could help in other ways, by giving blood or donating financially.
Popowich’s parents were unavailable Thursday, but Katie Suvanto with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society said the cancer is life threatening and she needs a match.
Suvanto said that without a match, Popowich has a five to 20 per cent survival rate, but a transplant will increase that to 50 per cent.
The society is hosting an event Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the NewCap stage at West Edmonton Mall, with information about donating and an upcoming fundraiser.
By the numbers
- 1,747 people in Alberta were diagnosed with blood cancers last year, and 605 of them died.
- Donating involves either a four to six hour procedure similar to giving blood, or minor surgery where cells are taking from the hip bone.