Four year old Zoe Dudzianiec (Provided by Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association)

Tecumseh girl still looking for bone marrow donor

A young Tecumseh girl suffering from a rare blood disorder needs to find a stem cell match.

Zoe Dudzianiec has Diamond-Blackfan Anemia. In simple terms, that means her body doesn’t produce the red blood cells she needs to live. She needs a blood transfusion every 10-14 days and nightly chelation therapy to battle the side effects of the blood transfusions.

“It can actually cause her to be blind, deaf, it can cause seizures, hearing loss, lots of nasty side effects,” said Heidi Dudzianiec, Zoe’s mother. “Zoe is basically maxed out on all the doses of her chelation therapy so there are side effects from it.”

Zoe will have to continue this therapy for the rest of her life if a stem cell match or bone marrow donor is not found.

Heidi said they’ve been searching for a match for two and a half years and out of 60 million possible donors worldwide they’ve found two possible donors.

“They rate the matches out of ten, basically. The two they found for Zoe were an eight-out-of-10, but the first one only had a 50 per cent survival rate, which was very bad, and the second one they said there was a very high chance of it reacting with her body,” said Heidi.

Doctors deemed the matches not suitable for transplant.

The Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association is holding a “Get Swabbed” event in conjunction with the Children’s Fest happening Saturday and Sunday, September 21 & 22 at Central Park Athletics in hopes of getting more people on the registry to find Zoe a match.

Anyone between the ages of 17 and 35 with a Canadian health card can be swabbed. However, Dudzianiec says doctors have told them they need people of Middle Eastern descent to get tested to increase the odds of finding a match for Zoe.

“My Dad is Middle Eastern, and so they said it could be tricky for Zoe,” Heidi said. “If you think about it, they’re probably not doing swab events and things [in the Middle East] so there’s not a lot of people of Middle Eastern descent on the world-wide registry.”

Zoe is one of 900 Canadians looking for a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

Anyone who cannot make the event this weekend can request a swabbing kit be mailed to their home by visiting the Canadian Blood Services website.