"Please donate and help save a life, especially if you are South Asian,” Kiranpreet Johal, who desperately needs a bone marrow donour to save her life, wrote on her Facebook page. "Whether you can help cure me or someone else your contribution will help save a life. It only takes a couple minutes to register and it is very easy."
NORTH DELTA – An Indo-Canadian teen from North Delta desperately need a bone marrow donour to save her life.
Eighteen-year-old Kiranpreet Johal was diagnosed with a rare bone marrow disorder called severe aplastic anemia 10 months ago and now her family, community and the medical establishment has put out an urgent call to get a match.
"They didn't call me in three days, they called me in four hours," Johal told CTV News of the day she had her tests done.
"They said, 'Hey, you really need to go to the emergency room right away.'"
The disorder means her body is unable to produce blood, and she needs a bone marrow transplant to survive. But no one she knows, family or friends, is a match for the live-saving surgery.
Johal is trying to stay positive, but has a hard time looking forward to such an uncertain future. She knows she won't be able to go back to school in the fall with her sisters, reported CTV News.
"I don't want my family to see that I'm down. I don't want this to be something that brings me down, because it's not going to," she said through tears.
"I'm going to be normal again, and I know that, it's just the amount of time it's taking…"
There are approximately 380,000 people on the national stem cell registry, but the majority of registered donors (70 per cent) are Caucasian. Only 6 per cent are South Asian like Johal.
So the teen and her loved ones took to social media, asking strangers to do a stem cell swab and find out if they could save her life. If not, they may be able to help others in similar situations.
"Please donate and help save a life, especially if you are South Asian," Johal wrote on her Facebook page.
"Whether you can help cure me or someone else your contribution will help save a life. It only takes a couple minutes to register and it is very easy."
On Wednesday, the expectant teen found a source of hope in an emergency “pop-up” stem cell drive that brought a crowd of strangers to Guilford Town Centre in Surrey.
At the drive, Canadian Blood Services' Trudi Goels told CTV News that only about one-quarter of those in need of transplants find donors within their families.
"Which means 75 per cent of all patients who need a stem cell transplant are relying on people like you to step up," Goels said.
While she waits, Johal has undergone 21 platelet and blood transfusions. She said she is grateful to the 21 people who donated for keeping her alive since October.
Those wishing to donate blood or join the stem cell registry can learn more on the Canadian Blood Services website.