Evelyn and Jeremy Chow with their two daughters. Jeremy is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia and requires a stem cell donor with a similar ethnic background as himself. He is part Canton-Chinese, part British. (Facebook/ Match4Jeremy)

Stem cell donor with rare genetic makeup needed to save Saanich man after cancer returns

Jeremy Chow is half Canton Chinese, half British and needs a donor with a similar ethnic background

A Saanich man is asking the public for help after finding out his cancer returned, right before his birthday.

Jeremy Chow wrapped up his chemotherapy in the spring after receiving treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. The father of two learned of the diagnosis in December 2018, and began chemotherapy shortly after.

However, doctors advised that another type of treatment might also help: stem cell therapy. For Chow, however, this wasn’t an option because of his diverse ethnic background.

In order for stem cell therapy to be possible a person needs to find a donor with a similar genetic makeup as themselves.

Chow is part Canton Chinese, part British, and the only donor in the stem cell registry with a close enough genetic match ended up being himself, years after he signed up for the program.

Now, the Chow family will look at “half-matches” in Jeremy’s parents. If his parents can pass a health exam their stem cells might be usable in treatment, albeit with a higher risk of complications.

“It’s a little bit scary,” said Evelyn Chow, Jeremy’s wife. “Really the best case scenario is to find the unrelated donor who is a 10/10 match that would reduce complications.”

READ MORE: In a fight against cancer, Victoria man’s only stem cell match was his own donation

On Aug. 12, the Chow family put out a public plea for help on their Facebook page, Match4Jeremy.

“Today is Jeremy’s birthday. He should be spending his time with his wife and girls, hanging out with his friends and maybe throwing back a beer or two, but he’s not. At the beginning of June, Jeremy was considered to be in remission. On Aug. 8, after a routine blood test, they found out that his leukemia has returned,” the post reads. “At this time, we know Jeremy is in need of a stem cell donor who shares the same ethnic background as him.”

This has prompted the family to work with partners at the OtherHalf- Chinese Stem Cell Initiative to host an emergency stem cell drive in Vancouver on Saturday, Aug. 24.

“We are encouraging ALL half Chinese and half Caucasian individuals between the ages of 17-35 to come down and get swabbed. We will also be helping another local family in need of a stem cell match from Chinese donors,” said the family on Facebook.

ALSO READ: B.C. businessmen open stem cell therapy clinic in Washington State

If a donor ends up matching with someone, their health will be assessed to make sure they are eligible to donate. After that there are two types of ways a match can provide stem cells, depending on the kind of treatment required by the patient.

The most common method is through blood donation, while the second method is through a bone marrow donation.

The Vancouver emergency stem cell drive will happen at the Steveston Dragon Boat Festival at 4000 Bayview St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,

Anyone outside of Vancouver can also easily register to donate by heading to blood.ca and signing up to do a mail-order cheek swab. The ideal donor is between the ages of 17 and 35. While both women and men are welcome, men are more sought after because they can produce higher volumes of stem cells.

Anyone with a similar ethnic background as Jeremy is asked to contact the family directly at match4jeremy@gmail.com

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Health Canada suspends Island pot producer’s licence following unannounced visit

Evergreen Medicinal Supply is working on “corrective action”

Victoria student out $600 for lack of e-bike insurance blames confusing rules

B.C. regulation says e-bike motors must turn off if rider stops pedalling, or bike must be insured

Saanich police ask for public’s help locating missing high risk youth

The 12-year-old was last seen before school on Monday morning

Flat tire, kindness of strangers, surprisingly inflate hope

Sooke mom and her daughters knocked on door of Bob and Norma Saunders seeking help

Ogden Point officially rebranded as The Breakwater District

New signage and logos accompany plans for the area’s future

Sealand was much more than killer whales, says ex-employee

Former Sealasd trainer revisits Sealand of the Pacific in talk

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Most Read