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You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience. Medical requirements for donating bone marrow exist to protect your health and the health of transplant patients. Learn about our guidelines for ing the registry. the marrow registry.

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Three-year-old Leia Fallico's life depends on a stem-cell donation — the only cure for a rare genetic disorder that's causing her bone marrow to fail. But of the 40 million registered donors worldwide, not a single one was a perfect match for Leia this spring. Leia suffers from dyskeratosis congenita, which impairs the bone marrow's ability to create blood cells.

A severe case can lead to leukemia and other serious illnesses later in life. The challenge is that she is of mixed ethnicity, Persian and European, which means she likely needs a donor with a similar background, who has a better chance of carrying the same DNA markers to make the transplant successful.

Only % of registered stem-cell donors in canada are of mixed ethnicity

But in Canada, for example, only 3. It's a devastating blow to Shonna and Marco Fallico, Leia's father.

The family from Vaughan, Ont. They're hoping for a match that may save their little girl's life and other kids like her. She dances all the time.

Your match journey

She's like a bright star. Last month, Leia underwent a blood transfusion to help maintain her red and white blood cell and platelet levels, a stop- gap measure that will happen more and more frequently until she gets a transplant, Marco Fallico says. Leading up to the transfusion, when her blood count levels are low, she feels fatigued and bruises very easily.

Extra funds will be donated to two clinical trials at Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital aimed at treating and curing dyskeratosis congenita. Anyone who qualifies and wishes to register can do so through Canadian Blood Services or Swab the World. You're eligible to the registry if you're between the ages of 17 and 35 and in general good health, among other factorsaccording to the Canadian Blood Services.

Blood donations are the most common way to donate stem cells. Shonna Fallico says while finding Leia a match is her first concern, her heart goes out to other kids of mixed ethnicities who need a donor, too.

They could be a person that could save someone's life. Close to 1, people in Canada are waiting to match with a stem cell donor, says Moneet Mann, a stem-cell territory manager with Canadian Blood Services. She's part of the push to get more people registered. She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in at the age of 24, and the only cure was a stem-cell transplant. Initially, there was no match.

Why ethnicity matters

Every week, she and her family held events to raise awareness about the stem-cell registry, ing up 2, donors. Then, six months after her diagnosis, Mann got her miracle. But of the 40 million registered donors worldwide, not a single one was a match for the little girl this spring.

Social Sharing. Ontario toddler in urgent need of rare mixed-ethnicity stem-cell donor 29 days ago Canada's blood supply has a diversity problem and people are dying because of it 'We are genetic twins,' Winnipeg man says on meeting his German stem cell donor.