Danielle Biron has been anxiously waiting to get this treatment done since she was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer the previous fall.
Not all superheroes wear capes; some just show up when we need them the most. Danielle Biron is currently going through high-dose chemotherapy to prepare her body for a much-needed stem cell transplant, which will take place within the week. People from her town came together to help her, which facilitated rapid treatment. Biron had been anxiously waiting to get this treatment done since she was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer last fall, after overcoming thyroid cancer in 2020. "[There’s a] 40 to 60 percent chance it actually works and cures me," says Biron in an interview with CTV at the Halifax hospital. She will be spending more than a month in this hospital now, as per CTV News.
CTV had first found out about Biron after her first stem cell match to treat her bone marrow cancer had been successful. Biron’s friends immediately went ahead and organized swabbing drives and spread awareness about the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry, in an attempt to find another. After Biron's interview with CTV, she finally found another donor. "It all happened really fast, actually," she says.
Donor anonymity is ensured in the process so Biron does not know anything else about the donor. But she did know that she had some hope now. "I want to feel normal, go for hikes," she says. "I want to feel like a normal person, and not have to huff and puff to put my laundry in."
In this transplant procedure, the donor’s blood is removed from a catheter and it is injected into a large vein in the arm, and inserted through a machine to separate the cells from the blood. These cells are then infused into the receiver's bloodstream (Biron's, in this case) through a central venous catheter over several hours. Biron will be in hospital for the next month to ensure the transplanted cells "take" to their new host and begin to multiply and form new blood cells. "They told me there is a 15 percent chance that people don't make it through this process, so [an 85] percent chance I will," she said.
Even while undergoing her own transplant journey, Biron is trying to increase awareness about how necessary it is for people between 17 and 35 years old to register as stem cell donors. "On top of all this, her own journey, she's promoting so much," says friend Lyndsay Casey. "I'm learning so much, people in our lives and in our bigger circle [are] just learning all about the importance of testing."
Last week, Biron took to Facebook and wrote a post about another Nova Scotian needing a stem cell match, a boy in Brookside, N.S. who has juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. "This is Colton. He is four years old," she wrote, "Since this worked so well for me! (sic) Let’s do it for Colton." Her post has a link to information on how to receive a swab kit from Canadian Blood Services by mail. "I've had a lot of support and love," says Biron, with tears in her eyes. "People don’t realize how much it can change someone’s life."