The search for potential stem cell donors is coming to North Bay this week.
In partnership with Canadian Blood Services, a two-day Swab In event is being hosted by the Rotary Club of Nipissing, Nipissing University Nursing Society and Canadore College.
“Stem cells can treat several kinds of blood cancers as well as approximately 80 other medical conditions, including sickle cell disease and, in some cases, multiple sclerosis,” says second-year Nipissing University nursing student Hayden Lloyd.
Officials say everyone is welcome, however, there is an age requirement of 17 to 35 years of age.
“You can actually donate stem cells after 35 but the registration focuses on that age group,” says Colin Vickers, Rotarian and stem cell recipient. “Experience is showing the younger the donor the better.”
He also says with more than 900 Canadian patients waiting for a match there is a significant need to recruit donors.
“Even though there are 440,000 people on the Canadian registry we can’t always get a match from people in our own country,” Vickers says. “Thankfully registries around the world are linked, indeed that was the situation for myself.”
He also says the more people registered, the better.
“The reasons that transplants can be used, the opportunities grow over time,” says Vickers. “Obviously you need more people registered to get that match. It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack as you search out that match.”
The three Swab In events are taking place:
– Wednesday, March 29 (10 am to 3 pm) at the Education Centre outside the Health Centre.
– Wednesday, March 29 (5 pm to 7 pm) at the Canadore Residence
– Thursday, March 30 (10 am to 3 pm) at the Canadore Commerce Court Campus outside the cafeteria.
After registration and a brief screening, participants will complete a cheek swab kit.