Time running short
Hospital to hold bone marrow donation clinic for Travis Arychuk

by Cheryl Leschain
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 28/97) - Time is running short for 13-year-old Travis Arychuk of Yellowknife, diagnosed with leukemia Jan. 6. He needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.

"I'm not a doctor," said Travis' uncle, Alex Arychuk, "but without a transplant, he has about six months."

Often, chemotherapy treatments destroy the abnormal bone marrow cells which cause leukemia. In Travis' case, chemotherapy treatments at the University of Alberta hospital in Edmonton have been unsuccessful.

A bone marrow transplant is Travis' only hope. Family members are the best candidates for donation but no matches have been found in the Arychuk family.

The Arychuks have turned to the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry to find a match for Travis. Still, there is no guarantee a suitable donor will be found.

In response to an initiative by the Arychuk family, Val Figliuzzi of the Edmonton Red Cross will travel to Yellowknife to host an information and donation session for those wishing to join the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry.

Participants will be asked to donate two tubes of blood for processing by the Red Cross.

Potential donors should realize they are not being tested for Travis' benefit alone. Candidates may be called upon to donate to any individual in need of a transplant.

The clinic will be held at Range Lake North school gym, April 6. Sessions will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. or from 3-5:30 p.m.

Organizers request all potential donors bring identification.

Because of staffing and time restrictions, only 200 potential donors will be processed on April 6. In the case of a high turnout, donors will be asked to return to a clinic at a later date to have blood samples taken.

To become a member of the Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry, certain criteria must be met.

Donors must be in good health and between 17 and 50 years of age. Attendance at a bone marrow information session is mandatory and the donor must be willing to donate to any patient requiring a transplant.

The bone marrow donation process begins with an initial blood test. Once determined as a match, the donor will be admitted to the recipient's hospital the day before, or the day of the donation for a half-hour collection procedure.

From three to five percent of the donor's marrow is removed from the pelvic bones at either side of the back. The marrow is replaced by the donors' body within weeks.

Although the chances a Yellowknife donor will be found are slim, this is a great opportunity for Yellowknifers to show support for Travis and his family.