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Monday October 31st, 2011

Posted at 12:15pm

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Universities across Ontario are partnering with OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to host campus ‘Get Swabbed’ events that honour November as Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

This November Ontario celebrates the first annual Bone Marrow Awareness Month as a result of Bill 80 brought forth by late MPP Bruce Crozier, who has been an instrumental force in supporting the work of the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association and OneMatch to raise awareness of the need for younger donors to support all patients in need of a stem cell transplant.

University students across Ontario are coming together to honour the legacy of the late MPP Crozier and Katelyn Bedard with the goal of adding hundreds of young, male registrants to Canada’s stem cell Network.  Students understand the need for young, ethnically diverse male donors and are inspired to make OneMatch more reflective of Canada’s population.  In fact, while there are more than 300,000 Canadians currently registered on the OneMatch network, there are still over 940 patients currently searching for a matching stem cell donor.

Currently 77 per cent of registrants are Caucasian and only 23 per cent are from Canada’s many diverse ethnic groups. Extensive research has also shown that younger stem cells from male donors have the best effect on patients post-transplant. There is a special need for young, male donors to better support all patients in need.

Events in Ontario’s universities are part of a national Get Swabbed University Challenge which is extremely important for the future well-being of patients. Last year’s cross-country challenge saw 11 university campuses bring in more than 5,700 registrants to OneMatch.

“University students have the potential to save a life of a patient anywhere in the world,” says Dustin Shulman, McMaster University Alum and Canadian Blood Services volunteer Advisor who organized the inaugural ‘Get Swabbed’ challenge in 2009. Shulman adds, “Registering is so easy, and the impact is life-changing.”

On campus, the University of Windsor will be holding  a Get Swabbed! event tomorrow,  November 1st at the CAW  Student Center from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.  Student Champions and OneMatch representatives will be available for interviews during that time.

 

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