The search is over for a stem cell donor for Calgary teen Roshlind Mance.
A matching donor has been found, and a transplant is expected to be given early this year to the 16-year-old, who is suffering from two rare and life-threatening blood disorders.
“It is truly a Christmas miracle and the best present we could have ever asked for!” Mance’s family posted on Facebook on December 21.
In July last year, Mance was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a serious disease that occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce enough blood cells.
In the following days, the Winnipeg-born girl was found with a second condition called paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria or PNH, which is characterized by the destruction of red blood cells, blood clots, and impaired bone marrow function.
Mance’s best chance of survival is a bone marrow transplant. However, neither of her sisters Adrienne and Kirsten is a match. Parents Benny and Jophine are also not a match.
The odds of finding a matching donor were challenging.
A website dedicated to Mance earlier noted that only one percent in the database of potential donors for bone marrow and stem cells, which are found in bone marrow, are of Filipino ancestry.
The donor has not been identified.
Mance told CTV Winnipeg. “This is the person that is saving my life.”
On Facebook, Mance’s family thanked the person, “wherever you are in the world”.
“You have no idea how much it means to us that a complete stranger is willing to save Roshlind’s life! You are a real life superhero and we hope we can one day thank you in person!” the family wrote.
The family wished others luck as well, noting that donors belonging to ethnic minorities are “so poorly underrepresented in the stem cell database”.
Match4Roshlind added 3 new photos.
December 21, 2018 at 5:00 AM ·
Merry Christmas everyone! Our family wanted to share the good news with you that Roshlind has found her match! It is truly a Christmas miracle and the best present we could have ever asked for!
We would like to thank every single person who has been a part of the Match4Roshlind campaign whether it was by sharing our posts, donating to our gofundme, volunteering at one of our events, sending us prayers and well wishes and those who joined the registry after hearing Roshlind’s story.
We also want to thank the organizations dedicated to saving lives everyday such as Canadian Blood Services, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Swab the World, Be The Match, Asian American Donor Program (AADP), and The Chinese Toronto Catholic Task-force! Thank you also to the media for helping our family share our story and for giving us a platform to raise awareness for the lack of ethnic minorities in the stem cell database.
Lastly, we would like to thank Roshlind’s match, wherever you are in the world. You have no idea how much it means to us that a complete stranger is willing to save Roshlind’s life! You are a real life superhero and we hope we can one day thank you in person!
Although our search for Roshlind has now ended, our work has not. We are so blessed to have found a match for Roshlind and we want nothing more than to help other families find theirs as well; especially ethnic minorities who are so poorly underrepresented in the stem cell database.
Roshlind’s battle is not yet over and her road to recovery will not be easy but we are so beyond the moon excited and we can now enjoy the holidays blissfully before the next part of Roshlind’s journey starts in the new year!