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Stem cell donor found for Calgary teen suffering rare diseases: family

Calgary teen receives rare stem cell match
WATCH (Dec. 23): Calgarian Roshlind Mance could be receiving a stem cell transplant by February after more than 650 strangers tested themselves to see if they were a match. Michael King reports.

The family of a Calgary teen suffering from two life-threatening conditions shared the exciting news that a stem cell donor has been found.

In a Facebook post published Friday, the family called the news a “Christmas miracle.”

Roshlind Mance, 16, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia and paroxysmal hemoglobinuria in the summer. Both are diseases of the blood and bone marrow.

Mance needed a stem cell transplant from someone of Filipino descent, but no one in her family was a match. To make matters worse, only one per cent of registered donors in Canada are of Filipino descent.

READ MORE: Alberta woman shares stem cell donation experience to raise awareness

But after multiple donor drives in western Canada and a tireless campaign to raise awareness, the family said a match, somewhere in the world, was found.

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“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!” read the Facebook post.

Along with searching for a stem cell match, the family was also working to encourage more people from ethnically diverse backgrounds to register as donors.

“Although our search for Roshlind has now ended, our work has not,” read the post.

“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.”

WATCH BELOW: Susan Nguyen and Adrienne San Juan join Global News to talk about how to donate stem cells to save lives and the lack of ethnic minority groups currently donating.

Raising awareness about lack of stem cell donors within ethnic minority groups
Raising awareness about lack of stem cell donors within ethnic minority groups

Through the process, the family had crossed paths with Edmonton man Bille Nguyen, who is suffering from a rare blood cancer.

Nguyen had learned his sister was a match and underwent a stem cell transplant in October.

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To find out more about stem cell donation, head to the Canadian Blood Services website.