Pictured: Cancer patient Pamela Bou Sejean desperately and urgently requires a donor. She does not have much time left.
A desperate woman suffering from cancer has turned to Facebook to search for a chance at recovery.
Victorian woman Pamela Bou Sejean has been battling an aggressive form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma for 16 months and now needs a stem cell donor to further her treatment. The 26-year-old has filmed a video pleading with people to go and join the bone marrow registry. At the moment, Ms Bou Sejean does not match with any registered bone marrow donor in the world. The more people who join the Red Cross registry, the more chance Ms Bou Sejean has of finding a match.
"I don't know how much time I have, I get too afraid to ask," Ms Bou Sejean told the Geelong Advertiser.
"You feel like your whole life is cancer and you get reminded of it all the time. To hear the words 'they've found a match' would give me a lot more hope to face everything."
To help his sister's search, Matt Bou Sejean set up a Facebook page telling people about Ms Bou Sejean's fight for survival and how to be blood tested for a possible stem match. Anyone could be a match for Ms Bou Sejean but people from a Lebanese background are more likely to match.
The former marketing manager was just 24 when she was diagnosed with cancer. When a cough refused to go away, Ms Bou Sejean's GP suggested a chest x-ray. "It was a bit of a shock when you first hear it. The word cancer," she said. "I was at stage two, I had [tumours] in my neck, in my stomach and in my chest".
Chemotherapy got rid of the cancer in her neck and stomach but a stubborn tumour remains in her left lung, forcing Ms Bou Sejean to turn to a bone marrow donor so her immune system can fight it off.
To join the registry, make an appointment to give blood at the Red Cross and ask for it to be tested and the results put on the bone marrow register.
So sad. The process seems easy enough according to her Facebook page:
*** TO SEE IF YOU'RE A MATCH ***
The procedure to see if you're a match is a simple blood test. You just need to be between 18 and 40 years old. You need to mention you want to go onto the Australian Bone Marrow registry. Since Pamela is a high priority on that waiting list, it's highly likely your donated cells will go to her if it's a match.
*** HOW ARE STEM CELLS ARE TRANSPLANTED ***
The procedure to actually donate your cells is also like a blood test. While seated, a small amount of your blood is taken out, then a machine takes excess stem cells from blood out and your blood is returned back into your body. You're given a stimulant so your body makes extra stem cells that won't be needed by your own body. That is all that's required. It's a safe, painless procedure and is the only option we have to cure Pamela's cancer.
*** HOW QUICKLY WE NEED YOUR HELP ***
Pamela condition is very urgent so we need help as soon as possible. She is currently on special drugs that are keeping the cancer under control for the short term, but cannot be used long term. (before end of March 2012). We urge you to please get tested as soon as you can, as the matching process can also take weeks.