Travis finds tentative marrow match
Incredible support at Unrelated Bone Marrow Registry clinic

by Cheryl Leschasin
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 09/97) - Travis Arychuk's doctors have decided he can't wait any longer for an ideal bone marrow donor.

Instead, the 13-year-old leukemia patient, who needs new marrow to survive, will receive a transplant from his father, Peter.

The decision comes after an unsuccessful worldwide search of the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry and Sunday's stunning turnout of Yellowknifers willing to add their names to the registry.

Peter is not, however, a perfect match and chances are high that Travis' immune system will reject his father's marrow.

Should the transplant fail, he will be able to accept at least one more transplant from a different donor, if one can be found.

Family members were told over the weekend that Peter was being considered as a donor. The news was not made official by Travis' doctors until Monday morning.

In Yellowknife, supporters of Travis, his family and others with leukemia turned out in droves to join the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor registry on Sunday at Range Lake North school.

Out of the 396 people who attended the clinic, 250 blood samples were taken. All other registrants are scheduled for blood testing throughout the week.

Val Figliuzzi of the Edmonton Red Cross, who travelled to Yellowknife to conduct the required information seminar, said neither she nor the Red Cross was aware Peter had been named as a match.

"The Red Cross is not connected at all to the treatment centre. We have no information on the patient," she said.

The family decided against informing the registry participants about the potential match to avoid confusion. "We weren't 99 per cent sure of the match," said Boyd Warner, Travis' uncle.

The donation is scheduled to take place this Friday at the Children's Hospital in Calgary.

Although there was never a realistic chance of finding a matching donor in the NWT, Yellowknifers should be proud of the support shown to the Arychuk family at the Sunday clinic, said Warner.

"It was wonderful," he said, "I can't even believe how many people care."

There is a way for friends and supporters of Travis to wish him well personally.

Warner said Travis greatly enjoys receiving letters and cards from friends in Yellowknife.