Young Maori girl desperate for bone marrow transplant

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TangataWhenua.com has received a panui via our networks that Te Ara Kingi, a young Maori girl is desperately in need of a bone marrow transplant.

Her whanau is desperate and looking first to their close family members to see if they are able to provide a match but if that fails need to be able to call about other Maori to see if they can help. So far we understand a match has not been found.

Each year, many patients are diagnosed with leukaemia or other life-threatening blood disorders. Bone marrow (or stem cell) transplantation is the only possible treatment for many of these patients. The most suitable donor is a fully matched (tissue-typed) family member, but only 1 in 3 patients are lucky enough to find a family match so a search for an unrelated donor is often necessary.

Because New Zealand has the highest proportion of Polynesian people in the world, the New Zealand Registry has made a commitment to focus on enrolling Maori and Pacific Islanders as volunteer bone marrow donors. In this way, more donors can then be made available to Maori and Polynesian patients nationally and worldwide.

More Maori descendants are needed to become blood or bone marrow donors. There are only 5,000 Maori on the Blood/Bone marrow register compared to 11 million of our pakeha whanau and friends. Not a lot to choose from for Maori when you are looking for a match.

TangataWhenua.com understands the issues that we as Maori have around the giving of blood and organs, but this is a little girl who needs your help to get a bone marrow transplant which will save her life. No doubt the decision is yours, but there are karakia that will help with this and we are sure there will be a way to help.

The Kingi whanau have expressed their deep appreciation to those who have shown them support, including the Taku Mana Untouchables Touch Club Napier for donating their prize winnings last week and all those who have had their bone marrow tested so far, and event to the whanau who cashed in their Sting tickets to start a fund!

Once you have donated please let Shar Kingi, Te Ara’s mum know and she will contact Starship with your name so they can push the results through urgently.

About the Proceedure

Bone marrow is collected from the hipbones using a needle and syringe, under a general anaesthetic. The procedure can take up to two hours. Recovery time varies, but usually you can go home the next day and resume your normal activities after two or three days. Bone marrow re-grows rapidly to replace the donated cells.

How to Donate

Contact the New Zealand Bone Marrow Donor Registry (NZBMDR)

Telephone: 09 523 5756
Toll Free: 0800 800 256 (0800 800 BLOOD)
Fax: 09 523 5757
Email: nzbmdr@nzblood.co.nz
Website: www.bonemarrow.org.nz

To become a donor you need to be between the ages of 18 and 40 and in good health at the time of registration. You will be asked to donate a unit of blood (470 mls) and undergo screening tests for viruses or other infections. Your tissue type will then be entered into a national database and compared with patients needing a transplant. If you match with a patient you will be contacted for another blood sample to confirm the match and asked if you are still happy to donate.

5 COMMENTS

    • To our whanau/friends and Maori decendants all around the world Te Ara would like to hug and say "thankyou" to the person who's tissue type is a perfect match. Yesterday at Starship we were given the best news ever, they had found a Bonemarrow Donor in New Zealand. Our journey starts on the 14th April with a Hickman line inserted into her chest, Chemo therapy on the 18th April leading into 2nd May Bonmarrow transplant. The donor has given her a lifeline and we say thankyou from the bottom of our heart. " He aha te mea nui o te Ao, he tangata he tangata he tangata.

      • It is nearly a year on May 2nd when Te Ara recieved stem cells from Singapore. She has had a rough ride since then but is on the mend. She had a year off school last year and started back at school at the beginning of term 1 this year.
        We would like to thank whanau, friends, Starship Hospital, Ronald McDonalds House in Auckland and our community in Ahuriri for helping us through our journey.

  1. Thanks for posting this important and sad story TW. When my mokopuna needed a SCT/BMT and matching donor to save his life 2years ago, we were given the same prognosis. He was 1year old at the time and is thankfully looking forward to his 4th birthday with many more to come now.

    From our experience, I for one, do not understand 'the issues' around the giving of blood or organs? I have to wonder if the colonial mindset has clouded our cultural lens on this issue? We're smarter than the average squares aren't we, life is not 'only' like this or 'only' like that, its not groundhog day. In the process of tamoko, blood is shed. This should be (sensitively) managed, not ignored or avoided, it can't be and therefore has tikanga.

    My heart goes out to this putiputi ataahua and her whanau, lets tend the garden in which she grows and give water and light to her so that she may radiate in the world for a long time to come. Also, lets support the registry and become donors. Perhaps some of your readers from parliament would get behind and lobby for a national cord blood registry, as many valuable stemcells only go to sustain trees when our babies whenua are planted. A newborns cord has the purest forms of stem cells, and one life could painlessly save another – who knows, perhaps in your very own whanau. My mokopuna's match was found in the cord-blood registry in Australia from an unrelated female, and we are ever so greatful they are there. However, Te Ara's story reminds me that this facility is still needed – right here, right now! Kia kaha kia toa e te kotiro me o matua, whanau hoki, tino nui te aroha me nga whakaaro pai kia koutou, nga mihi.

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