Editorial: Stem cells are in you to give

On Thursday at The Atrium and Friday at the University of Victoria, a Swab Mob will be on the hunt for young men.

On Thursday at The Atrium and Friday at the University of Victoria, a Swab Mob will be on the hunt for young men.

Police officers, fire fighters and athletes, among others, will be volunteering their DNA via a cheek swab for a cause that has flown largely under the radar.

The swabs will help boost the database of donors for the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, an organization that helps match people with leukemia and other diseases with stem cell donors.

Where blood and organ donation efforts have a relatively high profile through TV ads and media campaigns, being a potential stem cell donor hasn’t entered the consciousness of most Canadians.

Interestingly enough, of those who do donate, the vast majority are women. But what is needed are men between the ages of 17 and 35 – of many ethnic backgrounds – whose young stem cells are optimal for helping save the lives of people undergoing treatments for leukemia, bone marrow diseases and immune system disorders.

And in a society rightfully uncomfortable and suspicious about making medical distinctions along ethnic lines, OneMatch has no such qualms – stem cell matches among genetically similar groups gives people a better shot at survival.

Shelley Eaves with the Royal Bank of Canada and who needs a stem cell transplant for her leukemia, has done an admirable job at bringing this issue to light and to help break down myths and fears about stem cell donations. The effort also helps engender donating among a demographic underrepresented in giving stem cells and blood.

If you are a guy or a girl downtown on Thursday, drop into the Atrium to sign up (11 a.m. to 8 p.m.) The same if you are near UVic’s McKinnon gym on Thursday for the  5:30 to 9 p.m., where you might set in motion the means to one day save somebody’s life.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria writer releases first novel inspired by U.S. school shootings

Dear Mr. President tells thought provoking story of victims left behind

Saanich mayor joins fight to protect local wildlife from rat poisoning after second owl dies

Mayor Fred Haynes to meet with provincial, federal pest control industry representatives

Sidney fire responds to fewer but more severe calls during pandemic

Rise in severity linked to changes in routine during COVID-19 pandemic

Saanich police see spike in excessive speeding compared to previous years

Nearly 100 excessive speeders caught since January 2020

Colwood branch drop-off to continue throughout summer

COVID-19 safety measures remain in place

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read