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Jamaican Woman in Miami Needs Blood Stem Cell Donation to Beat Leukemia

MIAMI – Every 3 minutes in the U.S. someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer such as leukemia – and for 70% of patients, a bone marrow or blood stem cell match isn’t found in their family and they must rely on the kindness of strangers to give them a second chance at life.

Shellora Lewin, a Jamaican Woman in Miami Needs Blood Stem Cell Donation to Beat Leukemia
Shellora Lewin

Shellora Lewin is a 26-year-old Jamaican woman living in Homestead, Fl and is battling leukemia and urgently needs to find a bone marrow/blood stem cell match. It’s a time of year when many people give gifts and make resolutions to live better lives in the coming New Year.

Many 18-44 year olds don’t realize they can give a gift of hope to patients like Shellora – and all it takes is a simple cheek swab.

Shellora’s story is an urgent appeal for more Afro-Caribbeans and African Americans to join the Be The Match Registry – because just 4% of the 20 million members on the registry identify as black or African American. This means black patients only have a 23% chance of finding a match on the registry, while white patients have a 77% chance of finding a match.

This is a heartbreaking disparity that can only be changed by more black donors joining the Be The Match Registry.

Life on Hold Until She Finds a Cure

Last June, Shellora had just completed her first year as a 2nd grade teacher and was preparing for work as a Bible camp counselor when she began feeling fatigued, her lymph nodes were swollen in her neck, and she felt like she had a summer cold.

Doctors prescribed medication, but it didn’t help.  She went into the hospital and she remained there for 30 days due to the diagnosis of her leukemia.

Today she continues to receive chemotherapy and needs a blood stem cell transplant to cure her– but she currently does not have a match. She will likely need a donor who is black because blood stem cell transplants require the donor is a genetic twin, and that often means they will be of the same ethnic background.

How to Join the Be The Match Registry

All it takes to register is a simple cheek swab – people are only called for further testing if they are a potential match. 1 in 430 people on the registry will go on to donate to save a life.

Interested people can sign up here or they can text Cure167 to 61474.



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