Emily Sun, a 36-year-old woman undertaking chemotherapy near Perth, Australia, is using her blog to hunt for estranged cousins in Toronto, Canada who could be possible stem cell matches. Originally from Hong Kong, Sun isn’t a match with any of her known family members and has had no luck finding a donor match among strangers.
Chemotherapy damages a person’s healthy cells as much as cancerous ones, and donor stem cells are necessary in some cases to take over the production of healthy cells. The match between donor and recipient is based on genetics, but matches don’t need to be family members. Patients are much more likely to match a donor of similar ethnicity, however, and in Sun’s case, there aren’t enough Asian cell donors to match the demand.
Sun said she is passionate about battling her disease for the sake of her son, but even if she is not successful, she hopes her efforts will raise further awareness of the need for donor cells.