Sylvia Okonofua, of the University of Regina’s Stem Cell Club. (YouTube)

Sylvia Okonofua, of the University of Regina’s Stem Cell Club. (YouTube)

Most Black Canadians won’t find a stem cell donor in time; this group is working to change that

Less than 3 per cent of stem cell donors are Black

A group of advocates is urging Black Canadians to sign up as stem cells donors.

The appeal, which comes during Black History Month, cites a sobering statistic: Black people make up less than three per cent of the Canadian stem cell donor registry.

“That means that lots of people waiting for a stem cell transplant don’t get their match and then die,” said Sylvia Okonofua, of the University of Regina’s Stem Cell Club, in a video posted to the club’s website.

According to the club’s data, only 16 to 19 per cent of Black patients find a matching unrelated donor, compared to 75 per cent of white patients. That’s largely because of how fell Black stem cell donors there are in Canada’s registry; according to the Stem Cell Club, 0.37 per cent of potential donors are Black-African, 0.26 per cent are Black-Caribbean and 0.90 per cent are designated as Black-other. According to the latest census, roughly 3.5 per cent of the population was Black in 2016.

Okonofua said the lack of Black donors can be deadly because it’s easier to find a donor match from people with the same race and ethnicity as the recipient.

“Only people with your specific genetic markers can actually become matches for you,” she noted, adding that the Stem Cell Club and Canadian Blood Services are working together to recruit Black entertainers and celebrities to spread the word.

In order to register, people can visit: www.blood.ca/en/stemcells. Those who sign up will be sent a swab kit and added to the registry for when a matching recipient needs stem cells. Ninety per cent of donors will be able to give using a procedure similar to giving blood, while less than 10 per cent will give bone marrow.

@stemcellclub

Who’s in your swabbing squad? Repost from @utscstemcellclub #stemcells #donation #savelives #uoft #toronto #canada

♬ original sound – Stem Cell Club

ALSO READ: ‘Systemic racism’ in Canada reflected in health, income and other indicators


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Black History MonthHealthcarevideo

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Hot and cold water have different pouring sounds

Your morning start for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

BC Timber Sales near Revelstoke is one of two programs to be randomly audited this year. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke area BC Timber Sales to be randomly audited

The agency will be investigated by the Forest Practices Board during the week of June 21

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

MAKING MUSIC
The Dixie Fried Hep Katz recorded a promotional video at the Kettle Valley Steam Railway station featuring the railway’s steam locomotive. The young band from Enderby plays Canadian Rockabilly, with Porter Johnson, 20, writing, lead guitarist and vocals; sister Kyndra on drums; and Logan Bannick on bass. The band is using the locomotive to promote their song Spooky Train and help shed light on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s drive for donations. (Tom Burley photo)
Donations help with repairs of Summerland steam railway

Kettle Valley Steam Railway put out earlier call for railway ties, tires for locomotive

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Elias Carmichael #14 and Ethan Ernst #19 of the Kelowna Rockets check Gage Goncalves #39 of the Everett Silvertips during a game at Prospera Place on February 28, 2020, in Kelowna. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
Fans expected to be back in the stands for Kelowna Rockets 2021-22 season

The Rockets haven’t played in front of a crowd since March 2020

The Okanagan Forest Task Force uses a Ford F350 pick-up truck to gather back country garbage. (Okanagan Forest Task Force/Contributed)
Kelowna Canadian Tire steps in to support Okanagan Forest Task Force

The volunteer group has removed over 351,000 pounds of illegally dumped garbage to date

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News file)
Man found dead at Kelowna orchard

Police say the man was working in the orchard at the time of his death; criminality not suspected

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Most Read