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Canada’s public cord blood bank being built one tweet at a time

June 16, 2014 (CANADA) – Canadian Blood Services’ fundraising campaign For All Canadians has gone viral. The organization has committed to raise $12.5 million to help build a national public cord blood bank. Currently, only $3 million in public donations is still needed to ensure cord blood is more accessible to Canadian patients. That’s why Canadian Blood Services is using social media to make supporting this historic health-care initiative more accessible to you.

On June 18, Canadian Blood Services will host #CordAThon on its national social media channels. Call it cord blood ‘Twitter-versity’, where medical experts in umbilical cord blood collection and stem cell transplantation, and many others will answer questions in real-time.

“We hope to bring more understanding about why a national public cord blood bank is an essential part of Canada’s health-care system, and inspire Canadians to play a vital role in helping build the bank by making a financial contribution online,” says For All Canadians Campaign Co Chair Dale Sheard.

And #CordAThon has already piqued the interest of some notable Canadians on social media.

“I tweeted the other day that Canada is the last G7 country to get a national public cord blood bank. It’s surprising. We’re advanced in so many ways, but when it comes to options for stem cell patients, Canada has some catching up to do. Together, we can change that,” says Editor and Publisher at UrbanMommies Media Jill Amery.

“As a mom, the most important thing I can do is make sure my kids are happy and healthy. Supporting this campaign is another way I can look out for my kids, and all our kids, should we be faced with illness,” says Today's Parent blogger and Whining & Dining co-author Emma Waverman. “All Canadians deserve the same chance if they get sick.”

At any given time, there are approximately 1,000 Canadian patients seeking a stem cell match and the demand for stem cell transplants has tripled in just five years. Stem cells are now used to treat more than 80 life-threatening illnesses, including leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia. Cord blood, a rich source of these stem cells, offers new hope of survival for patients, like Nate, who needed a stem cell transplant for Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome.

“When a suitable stem cell match was not found in Canada, the international search began. It was scary knowing we didn’t have a national option available,” says Amy Lupton, mother of four-year-old stem cell recipient Nate Lupton. “Nate’s best option for survival was a perfect stem cell match from a cord blood donor all the way in Australia.”

Amy will share her story and chat live with #CordAThon participants via Twitter on June 18.

Nate’s stem cell transplant was more than three years ago. Today, Canadian Blood Services has started to improve the odds that patients, like Nate, may find their match closer to home. The  national public cord blood bank will consist of two stem cell banking facilities in Ottawa and Edmonton, with collection hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver.  This “made in Canada” health-care resource will give patients access to more stem cells when searching for a life-saving match.

Your donation can help build the national public cord blood bank. To make a financial contribution to the For All Canadians campaign, please visit today.

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About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood Services operates 42 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.
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