Elsa Nega, diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, has turned her donor search to Seattle, knowing the city has a large Ethiopian community.
By Paige Gross (The Seattle Times) |
Elsa Nega had gotten her two kids ready and was running to catch her morning bus when she could tell something was wrong.
The 38-year-old went to the emergency room, and into intensive care. The next day, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia — a blood cancer that occurs most commonly in children.
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Doctors recommended chemotherapy, but they told her she would need a bone-marrow transplant to replace her unhealthy blood-forming cells with new ones.
That was in early February, and the Vancouver, B.C., resident’s search for a donor continues to be daunting — because she is Ethiopian.
A successful donor shares the same ethnic background as a patient, doctors told her. But for someone with African descent, that’s a lofty task — much of the donor registry is Caucasian, and few people of color find matches quickly.
Elsa Nega now spends her days receiving chemotherapy and spending time with her children. She has turned her donor search to Seattle, knowing the city has a large Ethiopian community.
“It’s not easy,” Elsa Nega said. “In the morning I’m OK, in the afternoon I’m not. But there are so many people in Seattle, maybe my chances are better.”
When Elsa Nega didn’t match with either of her siblings, who still live in Ethiopia, or anybody on Canadian or international registries, family and friends began a campaign encouraging people to register as donors.
Continue reading this story at The Seattle Times
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