09/16/2014 10:38 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:53 EDT

Mai Duong, Leukemia Patient, Finds Compatible Donor


After months of searching for a compatible stem cell or umbilical cord blood donor, Mai Duong has finally found a match.

She tearfully shared the news of finding a cord blood donor from Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital on Tuesday morning.

The 34-year-old Vietnamese-Montrealer had a lot of difficulty in finding a donor to help save her from her leukemia because too few Vietnamese people sign up to become donors.

Héma-Québec, the province's blood and tissue bank, said Duong's public plight helped raise the number of registered Asian donors from one per cent of its donor pool, to four per cent.

Duong's doctors said cord blood donation is a newer, less established treatment than adult bone marrow donation.

They said cord blood does have some disadvantages, namely the presence of fewer stem cells and a longer recovery time.

Duong will still need to undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy and weeks of isolation, but said she is elated to have been given at least a fighting chance — and also happy to have raised awareness about the lack of non-white blood and tissue donors in Quebec.