Seun Adebiyi is a graduate of the Yale Law School, co-founder of the Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria, and a cancer survivor/advocate.
Born in Nigeria, Seun moved to the United States at age 6. He started college at 14, graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh, and after law school, joined Goldman Sachs as an attorney. He later transitioned into the field of management consulting with Bain & Co., then worked as a project manager for the American Cancer Society’s global health program, before launching his own virtual law firm in 2016.
Seun swam competitively for nearly 20 years. A member of the Nigerian swim team, he missed the 2000 Olympics due to an injury, then just barely missed qualifying for he 2004 Olympics by 0.1 seconds. Six years later, he began training to become the first Nigerian athlete ever to compete in the Winter Olympics. He created Nigeria’s first Winter Olympic sports federation, which paved the way for Nigeria to enter women’s bobsled and skeleton teams at the 2018 Winter Olympics. In recognition of his achievement, Seun was invited to carry the Olympic torch at the 2018 Winter Games.
In June 2009, Seun was diagnosed with two rare and aggressive blood cancers: stem cell leukemia and lymphoblastic lymphoma. His survival hinged upon a stem cell transplant, but he was unable to find a matching bone marrow donor due to his African ancestry (fewer than 17% of black cancer patients in the US find an unrelated donor, compared to over 70% of white patients). Seun began advocating for cancer patients of minority descent and recruited over 10,000 donors. He also organized the first donor drive in Nigeria, and launched the first Bone Marrow Registry in Nigeria (and only the second in Africa). Seun eventually received a cord blood transplant and has been cancer free for a decade.
In 2018, the Nigerian registry merged with a South African stem cell registry to form the first pan-African stem cell donor registry, in which he serves as the compliance officer. The Sunflower Registry has held donor drives in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, and plans to expand to the rest of the sub-Saharan continent. Its goal is to recruit 100,000 stem cell donors of African descent in order to improve the chances of cancer patients of African ancestry who need a matching donor.
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