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Fight goes on to save Richmond man’s life

Friends and family of Martin Lintag are hosting another stem cell drive this weekend
stem cell
Martin Lintag

Friends and family of former Richmond resident Martin Lintag are hosting another stem cell drive this weekend in a bid to save his life.

Organizers are asking anyone aged 17 to 35 to come swab their cheeks Saturday or Sunday to see if they are a match for Lintag, who has leukemia.

Previous stem cell drives for Lintag, who is of Filipino descent, have not enjoyed a high turnout and he’s still waiting to find a match.

Lintag, who grew up in Richmond, only has between three months to a year to live and urgently needs a stem cell transplant to survive.

The best chance of a match comes from people of the same ethnicity, but anyone can be a match.

Lintag’s family has already lost his only brother, Oscar. In response, Martin stamped Oscar’s memory into Richmond by organizing yearly sports tournaments with Richmond’s bowling community and Richmond Secondary School, to commemorate Oscar.

This weekend’s drive takes place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 2 and 3 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Dr., Vancouver.

Even if you’re not a match for Lintag, you could be a match for someone else in the global registry. All that’s involved is a cheek swab.

If you’re a match, it’s usually just a simple process of filtering some of your blood, as most people don’t need to give bone marrow anymore.

As of 2015, Southeast Asians, including people of Filipino descent, form less than two per cent of Canada’s database, and Canada does not access donors registered in the Philippines.

For more information, go to