So recently, my uncle's come over from India for a visit. He's THAT uncle, the one who had chronic myeloid leukaemia and was treated at the same hospital, for the same procedure (a bone marrow transplant) by the same doctor, as me. The one I talked about here.
His story is heartwarming. He got his leukeamia at around the same age as me, he came here, Australia, trusting his life and limb to a foreign lands' systems, and a doctor he'd never seen before and he stayed here with us. I wasn't even 10 at the time. I didn't get what was going on, didn't understand the processes going on in his body. I didn't even know what cancer was. All I saw was his suffering, his progression from a healthy looking, young man, to an emaciated wretch.
But he got better. He went back to his homeland. And after problem after problem, he defied the odds, defied his doctors, and now has a son.
But amidst our long, deep talks, I found out how miraculous he really was.
See, he was diagnosed in India, and after he was told he needed a bone marrow transplant, it was almost entirely left up to him to find a match. That was part of the reason he decided to be treated in Australia.
There's a 30% chance of siblings being a match. His brother wasn't one. He didn't get one on the bone marrow donor registry. Only 50% of people do... and that statistic plummets when you're of Asian, Middle Eastern, African American or Aboriginal descent.
They take your sample, check your DNA and write down your profile in the database.
You have a 1/400 chance of being called up per year... so chances are you won't.