Desperate search for donors for 14-month-old with leukemia
Tegveer Minhas was diagnosed with leukemia in October and needs a life-saving transplant
A Manitoba dad is sending out a plea to the public to come forward and register bone marrow and stem cell information, hoping against hope he'll find someone who can save the life of his 14-month-old son.
Just two and a half months ago, Sukhbir Minhas said he and his family were "living in a dreamland."
"[We] had everything. House, car, and on top of everything, a very happy family," Minhas said.
But on Oct. 25, his infant son, Tegveer, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
Since then, Tegveer has already been through two rounds of chemotherapy, Minhas said. He's lost his hair and a lot of weight.
"We thought we had the most beautiful baby. He's still beautiful, but we want to see him back in his normal shape."
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'This is the last chance for someone to live'
Minhas said his son's last hope is a transplant of either bone marrow or stem cells, depending on the upcoming results of his most recent round of chemotherapy.
Tegveer's donor has to be a genetic match for him based on the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) system, which codes the human immune system. The pair have to have 10 of the same HLA markers to be a viable match.
The most likely candidate is someone of Indian descent, like Tegveer.
The medical team has found two potential donors, but both declined to donate.
Minhas is urging everybody to register their cells with the national database. The process only takes about 15 minutes, he said, and is done using four cotton swabs on different areas of your inner cheek.
"Whoever is coming to donate for Tegveer, we're saying, 'Don't say no to anybody,'" Minhas said.
"You have to keep this thing in mind, that you're saving a life. It's not the first thing that they look for. It's the last thing. This is the last chance for someone to live."
The family is holding a swabbing clinic at the Sikh Society Of Manitoba (Pipeline Gurudwara) on 1244 Mollard Road in Winnipeg on December 18 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Alternatively, you can go get swabbed at Canadian Blood Services' Blood Donor Clinic at 777 William Ave.