Mass Cheek Swabbing Takes Over Sikh Temple (Edmonton) | SIKH PHILOSOPHY NETWORK
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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Mass cheek swabbing takes over Sikh temple

This apparently is an urgent plea. You do not have to be related to Noor Deol to be a potential marrow donor. Find out more by contacting One Match at this link.

Hundreds of people in Edmonton's south Asian community answered the call to help a 13-year-old boy battle a rare form of leukemia Sunday, doing a simple test to see if they are a match for a bone marrow transplant.

A mass cheek swabbing event took over the Gurdwara Siri Guru Singh Sabha in Mill Woods, with the hope someone will prove a viable donor for Brampton Ontario's Noor Deol. An operation is the best bet for the teenager because a chromosome abnormality makes for high chances of the cancer returning, even if he enters remission.

The challenge is his community make up only 2.6 per cent of Canada's stem cell registry. Since those with shared ethnicity have the highest chance of proving a match, his family is rallying to the cause, asking healthy individuals between the ages of 17 to 50 to come out and get tested.

"What we need to do is get more people involved," argued Noor's uncle Raminder Gill, who organized the Edmonton event.

"You can't expect them to come to your fight - you have to bring it to them sometimes…One thing with our community, there's a lack of knowledge of the situation, but once you bring it out there they're more than willing to come out."

The clinic was organized after 2,300 Canadians of South Asians descent turned out to a December cheek swabbing event in Toronto, with none proving a match.

At least 500 people turned out on Sunday, hoping there is strength in numbers.

"If it saves someone's life, why not do it?" argued Ravi Sangh. "I'm a Sikh, I should be helping the community and the people, right? It's my responsibility… I'm going to tell my friends and they're going to tell their friends."

Others who took part in the event say they were surprised by how quickly the test was finished.

"It just took us about ten, fifteen minutes," said Rajinder Sangh, who came out with her entire family. "I never thought it's that easy."

Coordinators who work with the Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Network say that's the message they want to get across to all potential donors. They offer mail-out tests that take about ten minutes to complete, and could save the lives of 818 Canadians who are waiting to find matches, 33 of whom are from the South Asian community.

"That's our goal… let [people] know that there are patients within their community group that are in need and they can be maybe the one match to save a life," said spokesperson Cassandra DeLuca. "We may not find a match for Noor. We may find a match for somebody else."

She adds other minority groups are also slightly under-represented, with the registry showing 82 per cent Caucasian participants, despite one out of five Canadians coming from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Gill, a relative newcomer to Edmonton, is celebrating the fact droves of people turned out in a bid help his nephew and others in a similar position.

"It's one of those heartwarming moments," he said. "I've only been here for a year and just seeing how many people are showing me support and showing my family support, it's such a great thing."

The strong turnout is also bolstering family in Toronto, on a day when Noor took a turn from the worst and was sent back to hospital.

In a Skype interview on Thursday, the teenager said as long as people keep getting tested, he has hope someone will be his match.

"It means a lot. It means for sure I'll get better, that I have nothing to worry about," he said.

Coordinators say they should know in about four weeks if anyone in Edmonton is a viable donor. Gill says if no one does, there are plans to hold another cheek swabbing clinic in Vancouver.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Here is a related story, also with an urgent plea

Thirteen years old Noor Deol affected with Leukemia is in a need of matching donors of stem cells so that his survival can be ensured. For the purpose, his local family members in Brampton, Ontario are searching people with matching stem cells.

Deol's mother was also a cancer patient and died from that only. His aunt Prabhjot Sangha is making efforts for finding a stem cell match. In joint efforts with One Match Stem Cell and Marrow network, Sangha volunteered her attempt to find a match at her Sikh temple at 4504 Millwoods Rd. South.

More at this link

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