Swab to save a life: Campaign to swab Black Torontonians for stem cell registry Saturday

(Courtesy: Instagram/@DD4Dorothy)

In an ambitious campaign, a local charity is encouraging Black Toronto residents to get swabbed for the national stem cell registry this weekend.

Donor Drive 4 Dorothy has a goal of swabbing 5,000 Black Canadians this year, in order to increase the number of Black donors in Canada’s national stem cell registry.

In an effort to reach that goal, the charity is holding a swabbing event from 12 to 3 p.m. on Saturday at First Baptist Church in Toronto. 

They are seeking healthy, young Black men and women between the ages of 17 and 35 to get swabbed. 

Increasing the number of Black stem cell donors can help treat blood cancers like leukemia, blood disorders like aplastic anemia and sickle cell, as well as inherited immune system disorders and metabolic disorders. 

The charity was created out of a desperate need to find a compatible and unrelated donor for Dorothy Vernon-Brown, a Jamaican Canadian who was diagnosed with leukemia and whose chance of long-term survival depended on a stem cell transplantation. 

“I was one of the lucky ones who was able to find a matching donor,” Vernon-Brown said in a news release. “I have made it my life’s mission to increase the number of Black people who get swabbed and tested for the registry. It’s so simple, painless and can save a life!”

Black donors only make up two per cent of the stem donor registry compared to 66 per cent that are Caucasians, according to Donor Drive 4 Dorothy.

“There are currently 13 Black patients waiting for a match,” their news release says. “Stem cell transplantation offers hope of a cure or longer survival in patients suffering from blood-related diseases such as: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and aplastic anemia.”

Former NBA player and campaign Goodwill Ambassador Denham Brown, who is also the head coach of Halton Prep Basketball, will be attending the campaign and bringing his players to encourage people to come out and get swabbed. 

Stay In The Know with Now Toronto

Be the first to know about new and exclusive content