Written by Eileen Wong, Physician, Residential Care

Xiomara was a young woman with a life-threatening disease. Through the generous donation of stem cells from an unrelated donor, she received a second chance at life and was inspired to become a nurse.

Illness often comes to us in surprising and unexpected ways. It was no different for Xiomara who was a very young woman when she was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia (bone marrow failure due to immune attack by her own immune system) and required a bone marrow transplant to survive. Her only hope was for an unrelated volunteer to donate their stem cells to "restart" her bone marrow to produce blood cells. Fortunately for Xiomara, her stem cell match was a perfect one and to date, she has not had much graft vs. host disease.

Through Xiomara's encounters with the many compassionate and caring nurses throughout her illness and treatment, she was inspired to become a nurse. After completing her studies, she is now a registered nurse at Surrey Memorial Hospital. She is also a mom to two daughters and in her spare time, she volunteers with Canadian Blood Services to raise awareness about the critical need for more potential stem cell donors to register with OneMatch (Canada's unrelated stem cell and marrow network). 

Xiomara will be at Thanks Mom! Give Life campaign at Metropolis at Metrotown Mall (Burnaby) on Saturday, May 13 (day before Mother's Day)to help spread awareness about the importance of giving life to others through blood donation, potential stem cell registration, cord blood donation and organ donation (through BC Transplant). Join her to celebrate mothers -- "Moms have given us life and we, in turn, can give life to others."

Happy Mother's Day to Xiomara and other mothers who have given life or received a second chance at life. AndHappy National Nurses Week to all nurses who care and inspire.

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