“I know there are very few Indigenous people on Canadian Blood Services stem cell registry,” says Melissa Deleary. “So when I got the call, I knew it was probably because someone really needed my help.”
Melissa, a health policy analyst with the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres, is both Dene and Anishinaabe. Just over seven years ago, she organized an event to recruit donors for the stem cell registry. She swabbed her cheek and consented to become a potential stem cell donor in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same.
Last June, while out for a stroll on her lunch break, Melissa got the call: she was a good match for a patient in need of a transplant. It took a moment for the news to sink in, but then Melissa recognized that she had been given an opportunity to help someone within the Indigenous community.
“I feel honoured by the chance to help a patient and their family in their time of need,” she says.