2nd Annual Christmas Mix & Mingle brings holiday joy to leukemia patients during a difficult time
Financial burden of treatments, coupled with worry from family and friends, hinders some cancer patients from truly experiencing the joy of the season
Cancer doesn’t take a break over the holidays but the support from a caring not-for-profit can make the holidays feel magical again, even for families going through the unimaginable. On December 10th a festive fundraiser organized by registered charity DonorDrive4Dorothy hopes to ease some of the financial burden and deliver holiday cheer to two leukemia patients and their families. Both patients are of black ethnicity and are undergoing treatment for a fighting chance to survive the disease; their best hope of survival is to receive a stem cell match.
Shocking statistics show that people of black ethnicity are extremely underrepresented in Canada’s OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network; only 1% of donors are of black ethnicity compared to 70% donors of Caucasian ethnicity. Only 25% of leukemia patients are likely to find a perfect stem cell match from a related family member. It’s even more difficult to find a compatible match from an unrelated donor and usually that match comes from your own ethnic group.
Over the past two years, DonorDrive4Dorothy is proud to have added over 550 new potential stem cell donors to the OneMatch registry through cheek swabbing events in the GTA and Ottawa. In 2016, the awareness campaign and cheek swabbing events were expanded to Calgary.
Last December, DonorDrive4Dorothy launched the “Gift a Patient” program which financially gifts two leukemia patients for the holidays each year. In addition to monetary support, through the generous contribution of Chef Courtney Guy, holiday meals are also freshly prepared for patients and their families to enjoy.
“Cancer not only affects the individual, it impacts an entire family. Our 2nd Christmas Mix & Mingle is hoping to ease the burden of an unbearable situation for two leukemia patients and their families. During this season of joy and giving, we also want to inspire hope in other patients who need a stem cell match to survive but do not have a related donor,” says Dorothy Vernon-Brown, DonorDrive4Dorothy spokesperson and a leukemia survivor.
Proceeds from the 2nd Christmas Mix & Mingle will be donated directly to the two leukemia patients and their families. Both patients are the primary providers in their respective households and had to leave their jobs to undergo cancer treatment. Medical expenses have taken such a significant toll on the families’ finances that there is no extra money to spend on Christmas this year.
The event hopes to raise funds for the patients and their families so they can have some of the things we take for granted around the holidays: a warm jacket and winter boots, gifts under the tree and a homemade Christmas dinner. Tickets for the 2nd Christmas Mix & Mingle are $45 each and can be purchased by contacting Dorothy at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other ways to help
- If you are 17-35, get your cheek swabbed at a walk-in self-swab clinic run by the Canadian Blood Service, at an upcoming swab event or order the Do-It-Yourself kit online
- Donate blood – cancer patients need a lot of blood transfusions
- Volunteer with DonorDrive4Dorothy –help out at a swabbing event and help increase the chances of a patient finding his or her perfect match
- Donate to the cause– it takes cash to care!
For more information, please visit www.DonorDrive4Dorothy.org
DonorDrive4Dorothy raises awareness in the Afro-Canadian community about blood stem cell donation to increase the potential donor pool for ethnic groups. Successful stem cell transplantation saves the lives of patients with blood disorders like leukemia, sickle cell and aplastic anemia who do not have a related donor match.
Canada’s OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is comprised of 70% Caucasian donors and 24% donors of ethnic origin. Blacks and Aboriginals are extremely underrepresented in Canada’s OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network; only 1% of donors are of black ethnicity and 0.9% of Aboriginal ethnicity. The organization is proud of its efforts over the past two years to increase potential black donors by 10% for the benefit of Canadian patients with blood disorders.