Campaign launched to get 5,000 Black Canadians to donate stem cells


There are currently 13 Black patients waiting for a match

Dorothy Vernon-Brown

February Kicks of Campaign to Boost Black Donors in the Stem Cell Registry

On Saturday, February 4, 2023 from 12 noon to 3PM at First Baptist Church, 101 Huron Street, Toronto, Donor Drive 4 Dorothy launches an ambitious campaign to swab 5,000 Black Canadians this year in order to dramatically increase the number of Black donors in Canada’s national stem cell registry.

There is a desperate need to increase the number of Black donors with only 2% making up the stem donor registry compared to 66.45% that are Caucasians. There are currently 13 Black patients waiting for a match.  Stem cell transplantation offers hope of a cure or longer survival in patients suffering from blood related diseases such as: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and aplastic anemia. 

“I was one of the lucky ones who was able to find a matching donor,” says Dorothy Vernon-Brown, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in 2013. “I have made it my life’s mission to increase the number of Black people who get swabbed and tested for the registry. It’s so simple, painless and can save a life!”

The community appeal is going out to healthy, Black young men and women in the 17 to 35 age range to get swabbed and join the Canadian national stem cell registry.

Former NBA player and campaign Goodwill Ambassador Denham Brown, head coach of Halton Prep Basketball will be bringing his players at 12 noon to get the ball rolling and swabbing to save a life. They will be joined by many other young people aged 17-30 who will also get swabbed.

Dr. Mark Minden, medical oncologist and senior scientist at University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre will be on site to speak with media along with Dorothy Vernon-Brown. is a registered Canadian charity whose mission is to support, care for and help save the lives of leukemia and other blood disorder patients by increasing the Black donor pool in Canada’s national stem cell registry through awareness building, education, active recruitment and partnerships.

Established in January 2014, it was out of a desperate need to find a compatible unrelated donor for Dorothy Vernon-Brown, a Jamaican Canadian, who in the summer of 2013 was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and whose chance of long term survival depended on a stem cell transplantation. Today, Dorothy is the very successful recipient of a stem cell transplant and is now considered cured.