Bedford clinic seeks stem cell match for man with leukemia

Posted: January 11, 2015 at 1:47 am

If youre between 17 and 35 years old, you may be able to save Chris LeBruns life.

LeBrun, 48, was diagnosed with leukemia last May. The accountant and father of two learned last fall that he needs a stem cell donation to beat the disease.

But the donor cant be just anyone. It has to be someone who is a match for the genetic markers in the proteins of LeBruns white blood cells.

That sounds complicated, but the test to find a genetic match is quite simple. Just by swiping the inside of the mouth with a cotton swab, enough cells are collected to determine whether a match has been found.

Donors between 17 and 35 are accepted, and males are preferred, as transplants from men tend to be more successful.

On Saturday in Bedford, 36 people joined the stem cell registry through Canadian Blood Services to try to help LeBrun and others with certain forms of cancer, bone marrow deficiency diseases, anemia and other immune system and metabolic disorders.

LeBrun lives in Cambridge, Ont., but has deep ties to Nova Scotia, says his longtime friend, Barb Leighton.

Leighton describes her friend as a community leader who volunteers tirelessly for causes that are important to him.

Hes very quiet, very humble, very modest, not at all for attention. Complete, pure altruism, she says.

It seems that LeBruns community spirit runs in the family. His great-uncle, Gerald LeBrun, was a well-regarded Bedford doctor who regularly made house calls long after that practice fell out of fashion. Saturdays stem cell clinic was held at the LeBrun Recreation Centre, which was named after the doctor.

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Bedford clinic seeks stem cell match for man with leukemia

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