Richmond’s Martin Lintag is in a fight for his life against two rare forms of blood cancer.
But there’s an opportunity to make a difference on Aug. 22, when community members can bowl at Lucky 9 Lanes to help Lintag, one of the bowling alley’s youth coaches. He has been bowling for 15 years, starting as a youth bowler and eventually becoming a coach.
“Bowling is a tight community,” says Christina Littlejohn, a coach at Lucky 9 Lanes, who has known Lintag since he began bowling. “We’ve all grown up together. You create these great relationships and everyone is like family.”
Lintag also played on the Black Huck Down ultimate team. But around eight weeks ago, Lintag was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia.
The bowling alley will be hosting “Bowling for Martin” next Wednesday, where those who want to support Lintag can come for two hours of bowling, at either 6 to 8 p.m. or 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. It's $50 per lane (which accommodates up to 6 people, and comes with bowling shoes, and pop and pizza for everyone) and will go towards Lintag and his family’s monthly expenses.
The fundraiser is also a part of Lintag’s search for a compatible stem cell donor. Canadian Blood Services will be available to help people register for OneMatch, Canada’s stem cell and marrow registry, and become stem cell donors.
What Lintag needs the most are donors of Filipino descent to come in and register, says Littlejohn, although she urges individuals from all backgrounds to come to the fundraiser.
“Patients are more likely to find a donor from within their own ancestral group,” says Sarah Jasmins, Canada Blood Services’ Stemcell Territory Manager for Western Canada.
The HLA typing that Lintag has inherited, which is used to match patient and donor for bone marrow or cord blood transplants, will also complicate his search for a donor.
“Any individual can have difficulty finding a matching donor but Indigenous Canadians, Asians, South Asians, and African Canadians face a much steeper hill when trying to find a matching donor,” says Jasmins.
“Bowling for Martin” will seek to help other patients as well, in addition to Lintag, since the Canadian Blood Services waitlist for stem cell donation is quite long, says Littlejohn.
“This event is specifically for Martin, but if we can save any life, that’s the key here,” she says.
“We just want to bring awareness to the disease, and to the fact that there are so few donors on the list right now. It would be nice to get young people out to support,” she says. “It’s sorely needed.”
Reservations for “Bowling for Martin” can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the fundraiser can be found on Lintag’s GoFundMe Page—tinyurl.com/MartinLintag—where people can also contribute to his support fund.
To register with OneMatch, go to www.blood.ca, and click the “Stem Cell” drop down menu at the top of the page.