BY EMILY SINGH
Ready, set, go. The race to find Davey Rochester a stem cell match is on. At just thirty years of age, Davey Rochester is fighting the toughest battle of his life, a rare cancer by the name of Adult T-Cell Leukemia Lymphoma. Originally from Jamaica, Rochester came to Canada in 2010 where he attended Seneca College to study civil engineering. In 2011, Rochester met his partner Krista Gear who continues to be his strength and rock during this journey. At the time of their meeting, Gear had two daughters who Rochester quickly connected with and treated like his own, together Rochester and Gear have two daughters together aged three and one.
In October 2015, Rochester’s life changed when he was diagnosed with stage four of this aggressive and rare cancer. His lymph’s, blood and his cerebral and spinal fluid are all greatly affected. This virus is an endemic in the Caribbean with seventy to eighty per cent of individuals carrying it, however only one to five per cent of the population actually shows signs of the virus. Rochester’s treatment began with rounds of chemotherapy until it appeared that he was becoming resistant to the treatment. Since October, Rochester has been in and out of the hospital, spending time at home with his daughters.
Currently, Rochester is in the Intensive Care Unit where is building up his strength to receive a life saving stem cell transplant. The Caribbean community is urged to come out to one of the many drives set up and get tested to see if they are a match. The numbers are astounding, only .02% Caribbean people on the registry to donate. Those interested in donating at encouraged to contact the Canadian Blood Services, where they will be asked to fill out a questionnaire and take a cheek swab. When donating stem cells a match is determined by tissue type not blood type. Anyone between the ages of seventeen and thirty five can come out and get tested.
The next drive is set for March 18th at the Jamaican Canadian Society located at 995 Arrow Road, Toronto. Donors can also visit www.blood.ca where they can request a home kit, complete with a mail back kit. Close family and friends have sent up a Gofundme account in honour of Davey that will cover the costly expense of treatment. In addition to that the funds will also be used to support a swabbing event in Jamaica. Those who wish to contribute to the Gofundme account can visit www.gofundme.com/daveysfund.
Krysta Gear, Rochester’s partner and greatest supporter continues to stand by his side during this battle. Without a doubt, through the grace of God and the community’s support, Rochester will receive a match and continue to be the dedicated father and partner that he is.
“He is an amazing guy. He deserves a shot like everyone else. He is the first person to step up and help someone when they are in need so he needs someone to step up for him now,” says Krista Gear.
Those who wish to receive more information can contact Krstal Gear at
email@example.com . A Facebook page entitled “Race To Find Davey a Match” has also been created to inform the public and save this remarkable mans life.