Students registering stem cell donors at today’s Get Swabbed! event
Published on November 04 2013
Brock students are hosting a Get Swabbed! event today (Monday, Nov. 4) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ian D. Beddis Gymnasium in conjunction with this year’s Health Fair.
The Get Swabbed! campaign is visiting campuses across Canada in the hopes of adding hundreds of young, male, and other diverse registrants to Canada’s stem cell registry. The event helps to connect potential stem cell donors with Canada’s OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.
“It’s great to be part of a national campaign that can help save lives today, and in the future,” says Steven Athanasas, who is part of the organizing student body.
“Registering is so easy, and the impact is life-changing,” says Mark Levitan, who is a fourth-year medical sciences student.
Since its beginning in 2009, the Get Swabbed! campaign has swelled from 11 university campuses to 26 universities, 28 colleges and 50 high schools in 2012, aiming to add more optimal donors to the OneMatch Network.
Optimal donors are young men between ages 17 and 35 and of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Students know doctors are more likely to select young men as the donor of choice for their patients, and have taken on the challenge to register more young men with OneMatch. In fact, while there are more than 321,000 Canadians currently registered on the OneMatch Network, there are still nearly 1,000 patients searching for a matching stem cell donor.
Today, 72 per cent of registrants are Caucasian and only 28 per cent are from Canada’s many diverse ethnic groups. Research shows that younger stem cells from male donors can provide better effects on patients post-transplant. A patient is also most likely to find a suitable match with a donor of the same ethnic background.
Last year’s cross-country Get Swabbed! campaign brought in 12,701 potential donors, making it one of the most impactful annual campaigns for OneMatch.