Canadian Blood Services ran a special donor event on the Enoch Cree Nation Thursday to find a stem-cell match for a five-year-old boy with a rare blood disease.
Drayson Morin-Rucchin was born with Fanconi anemia, a genetic defect in the proteins responsible for DNA repair — a condition that can lead to leukemia.
Drayson is of aboriginal descent. The hematologist told his parents that he needed to find a matching aboriginal donor.
"Not many aboriginals donate," said his mother Jenny Morin. "So when she told us that, we went, 'Wow, what do we do?' "
Morin and Drayson's father Steve Rucchin joined forces with Canadian Blood Services to hold a swab drive at the River Cree Casino to find potential aboriginal stem cell donors.
"We can actually extract the blood stem cells through a blood donation, but he does need a match donor to be able to save his life," said Cassandra Deluca with Canadian Blood Services.
"So he's most likely to find a match from within his own ethnic group."
John Thomas, a councillor on the Enoch Cree Nation, was one of the people who lined up for the stem-cell registry.
"We're here to save lives," he said. "This young boy from our community … is in a fight for his life."
Drayson's parents are hoping for good news when they see the hematologist next month.
"We are keeping our fingers crossed, even though he has the one per cent chance of finding a match," Rucchin said. "Don't give up. Don't give up hope."