How a young man in Germany saved the life of a Canadian minister |  CBC News

How a young man in Germany saved the life of a Canadian minister | CBC News

He has nothing to do with Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominique LeBlanc in any way – but a young German says he considers himself LeBlanc’s genetic twin since he donated his stem cells.

Everything separates them – age, distance, character. However, Jonathan Keel and LeBlanc now say they feel a lifelong connection.

It’s a link that appears in LeBlanc’s first message to the donor.

‘Sie haben mir das Leben gerettet und ich werde ihnen für ihre Großzügigkeit auf ewig dankbar sein.’ In English, this means, “You saved my life and I will always be grateful for your generosity.”

Jonathan Keel said he grew up in a family of teachers who viewed service as an important value. (Stefan Richer/Radio Canada)

LeBlanc suffered from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a blood cancer that made him fear the worst.

He had to wait two years after transplant to find out the identity of the donor.

One detail immediately jumped to LeBlanc: Young Donor.

“He got an email from the hospital,” Blanc told me. “There was his name and address. What surprised me was his date of birth. He was born in 2000. When he donated stem cells, he was barely twenty.” in an interview.

Jonathan Kell lives with his parents in Bad Hersfeld, a small town in central Germany.

Kiel’s entire family was very interested in his stem cell donation. They wanted to know who the mysterious recipient was.

Above all, they wanted to know if the recipient was still alive.

Kiel said that when the good news came, his mother immediately searched the Internet for the name LeBlanc.

Then she came to me and said, This person has Wikipedia [page]He said, “He is a Minister of Canada. That was the part that absolutely shocked me. That moment was incredible.”

Barely fifteen days after being discharged from the hospital after a stem cell transplant, Dominique LeBlanc was sworn in as President of the Privy Council. (Shawn Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Jonathan’s side of the story began with a semi-ordinary gesture – registering with the donor bank.

There was a campaign at his school in 2018. Pupils between the ages of 16 and 18 were collected to provide samples.

“I registered, as [did] Almost every other student.”

Dr. Sylvie Lachance of the Transplant Program at Hospital Maisonneuve-Rosemont in Montreal selected Jonathan’s profile from the German Stem Cell Bank. He was completely compatible with her patient, LeBlanc.

“When you’re Canadian, you often turn to Canadian and American donors, or more often to European donors,” she said. “Among European donors, the German Bank for Unrelated Donors is formidable because of the depth of its writing.”

Despite her many years practicing medicine, Dr. Sylvie Lachance said she has always been amazed at how willing people are to donate stem cells to complete strangers. (Stefan Richer/Radio Canada)

In the case of LeBlanc, the challenge was not to identify the donor. It was in order to manage his very aggressive illness so that he could have a transplant.

LeBlanc remembers looking in a mirror in the bathroom of a hospital in Moncton, NB in ​​the spring of 2019 and ripping him off what he saw.

“My eyes were completely yellow,” he said. Lymphoma had affected his liver.

LeBlanc said Moncton doctors had never encountered a condition like his before.

“The type of leukemia I had was so rare that there hasn’t been a lot of clinical trials on what kind of chemotherapy I should be given,” he said. “The doctors in Moncton, with the help of the doctors in Montreal, literally tried to find a prescription.”

Dr. Lachance said she believed LeBlanc had a difficult escape ahead.

“You could say that his life was in danger,” she said. “We had a window of opportunity during which he responded to the disease.”

Back in Germany, Kiel was preparing for the anointing at the time. For several days he had to inject himself with a drug that stimulates the production of stem cells in his blood – although he is afraid of needles.

Kiel said his mother was worried. But he said that even without knowing at the time who would receive the stem cells, he already felt partial responsibility for the well-being of the recipient, his future “genetic twin.”

Andreas, Jonathan’s father, left, and mother Andrea, right. Jonathan’s donation of stem cells has fueled the dinner-table conversation of the Kiehl family for more than two years since the operation. (Stefan Richer/Radio Canada)

“Obviously, we’ll be bonded forever,” LeBlanc said. “He made an unusual gesture that gave me a second life.”

With advances in transplantation techniques, identifying a donor is easier than ever. But Dr. Lachance said she was still fascinated by what a donor would do to a stranger halfway around the world.

“I always say it relaxes us,” she said. “It reconciles us with human nature.”

2022-06-07 14:56:36

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