A miraculous match

June 16, 2015 by J-Wire News Service
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A Melbourne leukaemia patient has met the  Sydney donor whose stem cells have saved his life…and both men were originally from South Africa.

Rou Gruenpeter meets Bernhard Krupp

Roy Gruenpeter meets Bernhard Krupp

On a balmy afternoon in October 2006, 30-yr-old Roy Gruenpeter attended a testing session on Sydney’s Tamarama Beach enrolling himself on the Australian Stem Cell and Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) via the Gift of Life Australia program.

Six years later he received a call to say that he was a potential match to save the life of a Leukaemia patient. Roy immediately made an appointment for Confirmatory Testing at a testing session held at Sydney’s Moriah College at the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration.

Within a year, his Melbourne recipient Bernhard Krupp was ready to be transplanted with Roy’s healthy stem cells collected in April 2013. At that time neither recipient nor donor was aware of each other’s identity.

Two years post transplant Bernhard is very well two years post transplant and shared the willingness to meet with his donor.

The two men have met Melbourne with representatives of A Gift of Life Australia present to share their emotional and private moments.

Gift of Life Australia’s Melbourne co-ordinator,Yehuda Kaplan met Melbourne’s South African-born stem cell recipient and his South African-born Sydney donor on motz’ai Shabbat in Melbourne . A very private Bernhard brought his wife Lynette and his three sons along with their partners to meet donor Roy.

Yehuda told J-Wire:” The three sons were in total awe of the stranger who saved the life of their father  by donating his stem cells and ”we now accept him and honour him as part of our family”  . All have vowed to help raise awareness about the Gift of Life/ ABMDR and the Alfred Hospital’s  life saving Programmes ”

Gift of Life Australia raises awareness of the life saving possibilities of stem cell and bone marrow transplants especially recruiting potential donors from ethnic minority groups to the ABMDR as they are under-represented on the worldwide Registries.

As DNA is inherited, the likelihood is highest that a match will be found from within the immediate family of the patient in need, however, only 1 in 3 is lucky to do so. The rest must look on the worldwide unrelated Registry. This would happen within one’s own ethnic minority group, even then, the likelihood of finding a match is only 1 in 10 000 !  Both Roy and Bernhard are Jewish South African and of Lithuanian descent.

Anyone healthy, aged 18-45, 50+kg, neither pregnant nor feeding can at any time join the Registry at the same time as donating blood at any Red Cross Blood Services Centre. Pre-booking is needed so that the correct forms and test tubes are available.

Gift of Life Australia holds testing sessions at community functions, schools, synagogues and churches and have done so for over 20 years in the Jewish, Indian, Sri Lankan, Maori, Chinese, Japanese and Indigenous communities. For these testing sessions, only a small blood sample is collected in addition to completing the Red Cross/ABMDR Medical Questionnaire and forms.

The Gift of Life program is run by volunteers.

In Sydney, ongoing testing takes place by appointment at the Wolper Jewish Hospital, Woollahra.

Shula 0414 780 444 or info@giftoflifeaustralia.org.au

A testing session has been organised at Melbourne’s Caulfield Blood Donor Centre on Tuesday 28 July from 4-7.15pm. Appointments are essential www.trybooking.com/DHUZ or call Mordi Joseph on 0490 332 415.

At this moment there are four Jewish and two Sri Lankan Leukaemia patients in desperate need of unrelated matches to save their lives.

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