Sponsored Content

Over 800 Canadians Need A Stem Cell Donor Match RN & You Could Help This Holiday Season

The season of giving is here and stem cells are the ultimate gift.

Sponsored Content Contributing Writer, Studio
Over 800 Canadians Need A Stem Cell Donor Match RN & You Could Help This Holiday Season

Another year has passed and we've entered the holiday season. The pressure to spend money is real, but you don't have to fork over a ton of cash to give a meaningful gift.

There's an entire community of people across the country you could have a positive impact on with just one act of generosity.

As of November, 2021, over 800 Canadians are actively looking for a stem cell donor match — and you could be it. It's also easier than you may realize. Your journey to becoming a stem cell donor starts with simply registering online to see if you might be a potential match.

Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry is dedicated to finding unrelated, healthy volunteer donors for patients in need of stem cell transplants.

So, What Are Stem Cells Anyway?

Blood stem cells are needed for the immune system to function properly. In a nutshell, they're immature cells that can eventually develop into red and white blood cells, as well as platelets that control bleeding.

Over 80 conditions can be treated with a transplant, such as blood cancers (like leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma) and bone marrow deficiency diseases (like sickle cell disease and aplastic anemia).

Unfortunately, most people can't find a match within their own family, meaning that over 75% of patients must rely on unrelated volunteer donors to help.

And even though there are more than 400,000 people registered with Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry, many patients still have difficulty finding the right match.

Why Is It So Hard For Canadian Patients To Find The Right Stem Cell Donor Match?

Right now, Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry is not as diverse as Canada’s population.

Since patients are more likely to match with a donor who shares their ethnicity, this means patients from Indigenous, Asian, South Asian, Hispanic, Black and mixed-race backgrounds find it especially hard to find a match.

Age is a factor too, since patient outcomes tend to be more positive with younger donors. This fact resonated with a donor named Robbie Faraday, who was inspired to join the registry after hearing a friend (and stem cell recipient), Mackenzie Curran, speak at a Queen's University event.

In high school, Mackenzie was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood condition that rapidly turns into an aggressive form of leukemia. She found a donor match through Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry.

After learning her story, and hearing that there’s a need for people with more ethnically diverse backgrounds, Robbie joined the registry in the hopes that he too could help someone in need.

How You Can Register

The first step is to answer a questionnaire on the registry's website to find out if you're eligible to donate stem cells.

If you are, Canadian Blood Services will send you a testing kit, where you'll swab the inside of your cheek and send back the sample. Once your information is received and accepted, you'll be officially added to the registry.

Doctors will then use your information to see if you're a match for a patient in need. It could be weeks, months or even years before you're called upon to make a donation.

"I think people should register because it's incredibly easy. Like, you take a Q-tip and you swap the inside of your cheek and you send it away and that's all you need to do," Robbie says in a Canadian Blood Services video about his experience.

"The sacrifice that I would have to make to donate to someone is so minuscule compared to what they're going through. And so, in my mind, it was a no-brainer."

As technology has advanced, so have the methods used to donate stem cells. These days, you can donate stem cells in much the same way as you’d donate blood (it just takes a bit longer.)

This holiday season, you could give the ultimate gift to someone in need — and it won’t cost you a cent.

Give back this holiday season by joining Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for more information.

Some Gay & Bisexual Men Can Now Donate Plasma In 2 Canadian Cities Thanks To A New Change

"I welcome this as an incremental step, but I want it to go further," one new donor said of the change.

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) are introducing new plasma donation rules in two Canadian cities for men who were previously unable to donate at all.

According to a release published on Tuesday, October 12, some members of what the CBS calls the "gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men" (gbMSM) community who live in Calgary, Alberta, and London, Ontario, can now head to a donation centre in those cities and donate.

Keep Reading Show less
@vancity.hungrycouple | Instagram, @itsjosheats | Instagram

If you've ever stood in front of the Ben & Jerry's section of the freezer aisle, you know the struggle that comes with choosing which delicious pint(s) to take home.

That decision is about to get even harder because there's something exciting in store (literally) for ice cream fans this summer, and it involves Ben & Jerry's most decadent pints yet.

Keep Reading Show less

Knowing how to manage your money can be tough. Personal finance isn't something that's typically taught in schools, and if you don't have a financially savvy person in your life, you might be left to figure it out on your own.

To help you learn more about money management and how to get more value from the things you do every day, Narcity got in touch with Erica Nielsen, Senior Vice President of Everyday Banking and Client Growth at RBC.

They spoke about tips to help you manage your money, and the launch of RBC Vantage — which gives you access to a comprehensive suite of benefits, interactive tools, rewards and savings available simply by having an RBC bank account.

Keep Reading Show less

Everlast Canada Is Hosting A Contest & You Can Win A Spot On Their Official Team

You can win $1,000 to use toward boxing equipment and much more.

If you're into fitness, you probably already know that working up a sweat is about more than going through the motions. It's about channelling your inner fighter and becoming your best self, whether you're doing a workout or training for a competition.

With equipment from iconic names like Everlast, it's easy to train like a champion if you've got the ambition to go with it.

Keep Reading Show less