By: Anna Bailey, reporter
Most students know that giving blood is a simple, easy way to help people who are sick or injured and in need of blood. However, many do not know that they can donate their stem cells/bone marrow to someone who is battling cancer or another blood disorder, in which their only cure is a transplant.
OneMatch is an organization that finds donors for people who need a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. They organize swab clinics to collect people’s DNA and put this information into a worldwide registry. OneMatch uses this registry to find compatible donors for patients who need stem cell transplants. Right now, 1400 Canadians are waiting to find a match, and while there are 440,000 Canadians on the registry, more are always needed to ensure a perfect match.
Nancy Hartholt, Learning Services Director, contacted OneMatch last year and ran a clinic here in January 2018. Nancy’s late husband received a stem cell transplant when he was battling leukemia in 2014. He was able to have a transplant through one of his siblings, but only 25% of patients are able to find a match within their own family. Nancy says, “I felt it heavy on my heart to reach out to OneMatch to see what Redeemer could do, since this is the best age population for stem cell donation.”
OneMatch has run clinics here in previous years, and one Redeemer student has donated stem cells in the past. Last January, the goal was to have 50 people sign up. However, over 130 registered, and the clinic actually ran out of kits to swab people with.
The goal is to have 50 people register again as there may be fewer students who can sign up this year – once you sign up, you don’t need to sign up again as you are kept on the registry until you’re 60. However, Nancy has been promoting the clinic to RA’s and HA’s and believes that 50 is an achievable goal.
Students do not need to register ahead of time, and the process takes less than ten minutes. They will not need to donate blood or undergo any invasive procedure. All that this clinic requires is for students to fill out a form with some basic questions, and use a cotton swab to collect DNA from the inside of their mouth. The clinic will run from 10am-3pm this Thursday.