Stem cell swabbing for cancer-stricken Edmonton boy so successful it ran out of kits

Click to play video: 'Edmonton boy with leukemia needs bone marrow transplant' Edmonton boy with leukemia needs bone marrow transplant
WATCH ABOVE: An Edmonton family needs your help. As Kent Morrison explains, their little boy needs to find a match for a bone marrow transplant. (Aired March 2, 2017.) – Mar 2, 2017

A Thursday evening stem cell swab event aimed at finding a match for an eight-year-old Edmonton boy with leukemia was so successful, it ran out of kits.

Brady Mishio has acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood, and has undergone three rounds of chemotherapy since being diagnosed in November 2016. Doctors say he needs a bone marrow transplant in order to live.

Brady and his dad Terry Mishio. Supplied to Global News

The transplant needs to come from someone who is a match to Brady’s stem cells. “What Canadian Blood Services tells, and told me from the beginning, is that the odds are about 50/50 that Brady will find a match,” said his father, Terry Mishio.

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Matches are made via the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) OneMatch stem cell and marrow network. It’s a database that pairs volunteer donors to patients who require stem cell transplants.

According to CBS, donors and patients are matched according to the compatibility of inherited genetic markers called “human leukocyte antigens.” A perfect stem cell match can be difficult to find, which is why the push is on to get more people registered.

“The more people that are in this bank — and they check it every 24 hours — the more chances that he or some other Edmontonian kids are going to find that match,” Mishio said.

READ MORE: Could you save his life? Edmonton boy needs to find stem cell match

Joining the bank is quick, simple and non-invasive: the potential donor just fills out some paperwork and swabs the inside of their mouth with a buccal swab (similar to a Q-Tip.)

A massive swabbing event to potential stem cell donors took place Thursday evening at the Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Parish in north Edmonton. Mishio is on leave from his job as a recruiter with the Edmonton Police Service, and several of his policing coworkers were expected to come out in support.

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Organizers expected a big turnout, but the response was even greater than they hoped for.

A big crowd of potential stem cell donors getting swabbed at Holy Cross Ukrainian Catholic Parish in north Edmonton. March 9, 2017. Courtesy: Trishia Comeau

The event was scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., but 100 people showed up before the doors were set to open. Mishio’s co-worker Trishia Comeau said by 7 p.m., 1,100 people had been swabbed and Canadian Blood Services had used up all of the swabbing kits in Edmonton.

“Thanks people of Edmonton for helping, we are going to keep this momentum going,” Comeau said early Friday morning.

Click to play video: 'Stem cell swab event for Brady' Stem cell swab event for Brady
Stem cell swab event for Brady – Mar 9, 2017

WATCH ABOVE: Terry Mishio talks to Gord Steinke on Global News at 5 from Thursday evening’s swabbing event. 

If you couldn’t make Thursday’s event, visit Canadian Blood Services for more information or to set up an appointment. You need to be between 17 and 35 to register.


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