Chatham’s Jocelyn McGlynn has won the health lottery.
McGlynn, diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in November, announced recently a match stem cell donor has been found for her.
“I’m in remission. They found a 10-out-of-10 perfect match,” she said via video on Facebook.
McGlynn will receive the stem cell transplant at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY. The procedure is slated for Feb. 20, McGlynn’s “new birthday,” according to close friend Olivia Pomajba.
Pomajba, who said she met McGlynn in junior kindergarten and shared classes with her ever since, is her roommate at the University of Western Ontario. She said finding a perfect match is akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
“We were told you have a better likelihood of winning the lottery than finding a match. It’s like finding someone with the same fingerprints as you,” she said. “It was like the best news I will ever receive. I don’t know if anything can compare to that.”
Pomajba said McGlynn will have to travel to the cancer centre prior to the procedure for preparation. But the donor is already being prepared by receiving growth hormones to make his body generate extra stem cells prior to the procedure.
McGlynn, her family and friends organized several blood donor clinics and swab events in Chatham and London, with the goal of finding a match for McGlynn, and to help others in need of a transplant.
Through the battle, Pomajba said McGlynn’s spirits have remained unchanged.
“If you knew Jocelyn before this happened, she had such an incredible attitude. If anyone can keep sunshine in her heart through all this, it’s her,” she said.
In McGlynn’s video post, she graciously thanked everyone for supporting her.
“Thank you so much for following my journey; and not just following it, but for walking along beside me and strengthening me through it. Your thoughts, your prayers, your positivity, I can feel them every day,” she said.
Pomajba said what you see in the video is what you get with McGlynn.
“You can really tell her character when you
watch that video. She was just so gracious for all the people who helped her.
And she encouraged people to still get checked, because other people are still
on the list,” Pomajba said. “That’s just so revealing of her as a person.”
Pomajba also encourages people who are eligible to get swabbed and register as stem cell donors.
“It’s so easy to match people. I thought I’d have to really sell it to people, but when they realize there’s a need, they enthusiastically join up,” Pomajba said. “The kindness of strangers kept me going through all this.
“I encourage people to join the register. It’s so easy. You can do it online. They’ll send a kit to your house,” she said. “It’s a really beautiful thing you can do for someone.”
Basically, anyone between the ages of 17 and 35 can register, she added.
“I can’t believe the amount of people we got to participate in the swab and blood clinics. It’s incredible,” McGlynn said. “Thank you to everyone who has helped make my bad news into something good. I feel like we are going to help a lot of people with that.”
McGlynn, 21, is a fourth year medical sciences student at Western. She hopes to one day become a doctor.