Pop-up stem cell and blood donation clinic in Surrey benefits North Delta teen.

18-year-old North Delta Secondary graduate Kiran Johal hopes to find a stem cell donor at Wednesday's pop-up clinic at Guilford Town Centre.

North Delta Secondary graduate Kiran Johal needs a stem cell transplant to save her life.

Kiran Johal had just started her first semester of college when she started getting dizzy and noticing a significant amount of bruising on her body, some the size of her hands. A trip to the doctor turned into a trip to the ER and she was quickly admitted to hospital.

Still, it wasn’t until she asked a nurse how long she would have to stay, explaining she had a midterm in the morning, that she realized the seriousness of her condition.

“If you want to live, you’re going to be here a while,” the nurse replied.

Reliving that moment brings Johal to tears.

“It’s a scary feeling to know you can’t really do anything about it,” she said.

The 18-year-old North Delta Secondary graduate was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia and spent nearly a month a month in hospital receiving three to four transfusions a week.

To date, Johal has received  21 transfusions during her treatment and is very thankful for the donors who helped save her life.

“If those people were thinking, ‘No I don’t want to,’ I would probably not be alive today,” she said.

Severe aplastic anemia is a rare condition wherein patients have less than 25 per cent of the normal amount of cells in their bone marrow and the stem cells that would become blood are damaged, creating a shortage of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

In order to cure her condition and save her life, Johal desperately needs a stem cell transplant. She says 70 per cent of matches are from unrelated donors who share the same background, which is why she is especially encouraging all eligible South Asian donors to come out to Guildford Town Centre this Wednesday, Aug. 24 and add their names to the stem cell registry.

Wednesday’s stem cell clinic and blood drive aims to diversify the registry and inform the South Asian community that there is no risk in donating.

“South Asian people are really giving of donations, but when it comes to donating parts of our bodies we kind of back away from that,” Johal said. “I want people to know there is no risk here, the only risk is that if you’re not donating someone else’s life is in danger.”

Johal hopes the clinics will put patient like her on the road to a speedier recovery.

“I don’t want anyone to be waiting longer than [I have],” she said. “If I can’t help myself find a donor at least in the future someone else who needs one will find someone faster than I did.”

Trudi Gols, territory manager for stem cell donations at Canadian Blood Services, said they need 17-to-35-year-olds to participate in the stem cell swab clinic. Taking part in the swab clinic will add participants to the national stem cell registry, making them potential donors for patients like Johal across Canada.

In addition to registering as a stem cell donor, visitors to the mall can also donate some much-needed blood.

“There is a need for all types of blood donors,” Gols said, adding the need for blood is constant.

The blood donor and stem cell swab clinic is happening at Guilford Town Centre on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Both clinics open at 10:00 a.m., with blood donation closing at 5:00 p.m. and the stem cell clinic closing at 9:00 p.m. The blood clinic will be near entrance #6 (London Drugs/Scotiabank) and the swab clinic will be on the second level near Hudson’s Bay.

Check the Canadian Blood Services website to see if you are edible to donate blood. blood.ca/en/blood/abcs-eligibility

Wednesday's stem cell and blood donation clinic at Guilford Town Centre to help North Delta teen Kiran Johal.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patricia Celan, named Miss Charity seven years ago while a teen living in South Surrey, is now in postgraduate psychiatry training and was recently named Mrs. Canada International 2021. (Contributed photos)
Domestic-violence awareness a focus for former White Rock woman named Mrs. Canada International

Patricia Celan, in postgraduate psychiatry training, earned her first crown in 2013

The peninsula’s Community Christmas Day Dinner at White Rock Baptist Church – seen here in 2019 – has been cancelled for 2020, because of pandemic-inspired limitations on gatherings. (File photo)
Annual Community Christmas dinner ‘just not possible’ this year

Organizers vow that 40 years-plus Semiahmoo Peninsula tradition will return, post-COVID

Sources volunteers face off at the organization’s ‘Enchanted’ gala – one as a fairy and the other as her magic-mirror reflection – held in 2019. (Tiffany Kwong photo)
‘Rising infections’ prompts move to virtual Sources gala

Silent auction, raffle opens to public at 9 a.m. Oct. 30

This year’s annual Lighted Boat Parade has been cancelled. (File photo)
White Rock’s annual Lighted Boat Parade cancelled

COVID-19 cited as main reason for cancellation of popular winter tradition

Strawberry Hill Hall is being renovated and moved to another location on its existing corner lot in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey’s historic Strawberry Hill Hall being moved a few metres in $1.2M reno project

Childcare spaces coming to corner lot where hall has stood for 111 years

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks Thursday (Oct. 29) during a news conference held at Fraser Health office, in video posted to Facebook. (Photo: Government of British Columbai/Facebook)
COVID-19 ‘disproportionately’ affecting Fraser Health: Henry

Health region has about 75 per cent of B.C.’s active cases

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

Most Read