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Perfect match: Edmonton man to receive stem cell donation from sister
Published Tuesday, July 10, 2018 4:17PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 10, 2018 6:39PM MDT
The Edmonton man who has been searching for a stem cell donor across Alberta has found a match: His sister.
Bille Nguyen was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer last December. The 25-year-old underwent six rounds of chemotherapy, but the treatment was unsuccessful and he was told he needed a stem cell transplant. His family got tested, organized donor drives in Edmonton and Calgary while they waited for results.
“We thought, instead of sitting and waiting for a match to show up, why don’t we go and find them? And on top of that, why don't we find a match for other people as well?” Susan Nguyen, one of Bille’s three sisters, said.
But as it turns out, Susan was the perfect match.
“I was driving and I got the phone call and had to stop on the side of the road and just take it in because it was a complete shock to me,” she told CTV News.
Bille hoped he would get to meet the person to save his life. Turns out he already has.
“Having it be my sister and know it’s her is much better.”
He will undergo the transplant in Calgary on July 27, and stay for about three months to receive medical attention.
“[I’m] a little afraid, of course. Nervous. But most importantly, I’m glad to have this opportunity. I’m glad we found a match. I’m excited to do the stem cell transplant.”
Bille may have a match, but the Nguyens’ search for donors is not finished. Of all patients waiting for a stem cell transplant, only half find a match, and only 28 per cent of the database is made up of ethnic donors. The family wants to establish a donor base for Asians and other ethnicities.
“We want to save other lives and prevent other families from going through what we had a taste of,” Susan said.
With files from Nahreman Issa