Almost 600 step up to help save former Richmond man's life

Almost 600 people stepped up in a bid to save the life of former Richmond resident Martin Lintag, who has leukemia.

Friends and family hosted another stem cell drive for Lintag last weekend, with 599 people registering as donors at the Vancouver event.

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Many attendees, said organizers, turned up after reading about the stem cell drive on Richmond News’ website.

It takes about six to eight weeks for new registrants to be processed through Canadian Blood Services, so it won’t be known until then if anyone was a match for Lintag.

“Seeing such a huge turnout really gave his family hope and encouragement,” said one of the event organizers, Joyce Chiang.

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.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page for Lintag at GoFundMe.com/MartinLintagSupportFund, with a goal of raising $40,000 towards his expenses. By Tuesday, the figure was at $24,685.

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.

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.

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