A flyer announcing a bone marrow drive for nine-year-old Andrew Ferrand is shown at Canadian Blood Services in Windsor, June 12, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Nine-year-old helped by bone marrow drive

You may hold the key to a medical solution for a nine-year-old Windsor-Essex boy.

Canadian Blood Services in Windsor played host to a bone marrow drive Wednesday, with hopes of registering people to become bone marrow donors. Organizers hoped to collect new registrants with hopes that one of them may be a match for Andrew Farrand.

Farrand, a Grade 3 student at Tecumseh Vista Academy, has been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is looking for a bone marrow match to help him recover.

The bone marrow drive was run in partnership with the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association, which handles bone marrow drives throughout Windsor-Essex. It is named after a girl who died in 2005 from the same blood disorder. Katelyn’s grandmother, Melba Bedard, told BlackburnNewsWindsor.com that Katelyn had been getting chemotherapy treatments but it got to the point where her life would only have been saved by a bone-marrow transplant. Sadly, a match was not found in time.

“We’re hoping that Andrew and his family, they don’t face the same situation,” said Melba. “Right now, there’s about 32 million in the registry now that these swab events are being promoted across Canada.”

Andrea Baker, a co-director with the association, said their main focus of Wednesday’s event was to help Andrew, but they want to help more patients as well.

“He is looking for a match but there are thousands of Canadians that are looking for matches as well,” said Baker. “We just want to get as many people registered as possible so that the matches can be found.”

The association said it is looking for registrants from all ethnic backgrounds since there is a need for minority donors. The process takes about 15 minutes and only requires a quick swab gently scraped on the inside of the cheek.

Donors should be in overall good health and be between the ages of 17 and 35, according to Canadian Blood Services. Those unable to attend the drive can still become part of the registry by going online and following the instructions.