Film to highlight need for multiethnic donors

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The award-winning team behind “Mixed Match,” a feature-length documentary about the difficulties multiethnic patients with deadly blood diseases face when searching for bone marrow donors, has launched an online fundraising campaign to raise $25,000 to support its production and post-production work.

Jeff Chiba Stearns is the director and executive producer of the film, which was inspired by the work of Los Angeles-based outreach group Mixed Marrow.

According to a statement by Stearns’ Meditating Bunny Studio Inc., “in order for a marrow or stem cell match to occur between a patient and donor, the genetic markers on cells must align. Because these markers are inherited from parents, their children are a blend both of their parents’ markers. Therefore, for mixed patients, their monoracial parents and relatives will not likely be a match, and their siblings only hold about a 1 in 4 chance of being a match.”

The National Marrow Donor Program states, “thousands of patients with blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, sickle cell and other life-threatening diseases need a bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.”

“Mixed Match” will follow recently diagnosed multiethnic patients in search of donors, some of whom struggle through rounds of chemotherapy as they spend months searching for a match. The journey of a patient who is in remission after undergoing a successful donation will also be documented. Family members of another patient who did not find a suitable match, and passed away, will also share the story of a former patient. Finally, the documentary will also feature a reunion between a donor and patient after a successful transplant, as the two meet for the very first time.

The Mixed Match team launched the Indiegogo campaign on March 2, and has raised $4,440 as of March 27. The campaign closes on Friday, April 27.

For more information about the film, visit www.mixedmatchmovie.com. The campaign Website is www.indiegogo.com/mixed-match.

Stearns’ most recent film, his first feature documentary, “One Big Hapa Family,” is about children of mixed-Japanese decent and the high Japanese Canadian interracial marriage rate.

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