This past Sunday at North Pointe we prayed for five-year-old Halle Popowich of St Albert, who was diagnosed with a rare form of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Without a bone marrow transplant, doctors have pegged her chances of survival at between five and 20 per cent.
I was touched by the people who came up to me asking how they could find out if they were a match for Halle.
Dad Kurt and mom Deana are appealing for people to get tested, even if they don’t wind up being a match for Halle. “It’s not just about Halle,” Deana said. “We feel happy that we can use her story to help so many other people. We’ve met so many other parents and families at the Stollery [Children’s Hospital], and everyone has a story.”
Even regular blood donations are a big help, Deana added, as Halle has already undergone about eight blood transfusions and at least 10 platelet transfusions since being diagnosed.
On Thursday the St Albert Leader had an article about Halle and info about bone marrow testing. Testing your bone marrow type is a fairly simple procedure and donation procedures are not as painful and complicated than one may think.
Potential donors can go online to www.blood.ca and follow the link to register for the OneMatch stem cell and marrow network. You’ll fill out a questionnaire, after which you’ll be sent cheek swabs to send back to Canadian Blood Services. Your DNA is then entered into a national database, and if you’re a match, they’ll contact you and arrange for further testing.