The case of a 33-year-old Filipino worker in Dubai highlights a shortcoming in the medical system that needs to be addressed. Larry Castro is suffering from leukaemia and is trying to raise funds to secure testing to try and find a matching bone marrow donor.
Sadly, leukaemia and myelomas can strike anybody regardless of age, sex or ethnicity. And very often, the only hope for the patient is a life-saving bone marrow transplant, a painful procedure that requires killing off the immune system of the recipient and transplanting matching bone marrow from a donor. While stem cell transplants offer hope, the bone marrow route is the most common for most leukaemia patients. Often a match is found within the immediate family, but there are instances when a broader appeal is needed to ethnic communities.
But there is a solution and it is one that can be facilitated by officials working for the health ministry or, indeed, charities with resources and contacts. A central bone marrow registry will provide a bank of bone marrow matches for those suffering from leukaemia and Castro and others like him will be grateful.