Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Canada’s New National Public Cord Blood Bank

Canadian Blood Services and ING DIRECT launch #Climb4Cord

June 10, 2013 (Toronto) - For the nearly 1,000 Canadians waiting for a stem cell match, each day is an uphill battle. It’s a fight that Canadian Blood Services knows all too well. Today, Canadian Blood Services and ING DIRECT are launching the #Climb4Cord campaign, with the goal of raising $500,000 to go towards the $12.5 million needed by Canadian Blood Services to help build a national public cord blood bank.

“I liken the 19,000-foot climb to Africa’s highest peak to the uphill battle patients face waiting for a stem cell match,” said Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services and #Climb4Cord team lead. “#Climb4Cord is a fundraising climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise public awareness and funds for a public cord blood bank, and I am delighted that with ING DIRECT, we are reaching new heights together.”

In January, Canadian Blood Services launched the $12.5 million For All Canadians fundraising campaign to build a national public cord blood bank. Umbilical cords, which are currently discarded after childbirth, are a rich source of stem cells that can provide renewed life for many patients who are waiting for an unrelated stem cell match. Canada is the only G8 country without a national public cord blood bank. ING DIRECT is supporting the campaign For All Canadians through #Climb4Cord. The bank has provided a $100,000 donation and in-kind sponsorship. ING DIRECT’s Head of Social Media, Jaime Stein, will be joining the climb. Stein will be active on social media throughout the trek using a DeLorme inReach satellite device. #Climb4Cord will take place in August 2013.

“Establishing a national cord blood bank is vital to the future of Canadian healthcare. We are excited to support Canadian Blood Services to help raise funds and build awareness for this cause,” said Peter Aceto, president and CEO, ING DIRECT. “Giving of both our resources and time is a cornerstone of our philanthropic efforts, and we hope our contribution will impact the success of the #Climb4Cord campaign.” The Canadian Blood Services #Climb4Cord Team consists of 25 climbers and includes members of the Canadian Blood Services family, senior business executives from supporting organizations, and campaign supporters. The goal of #Climb4Cord is to raise $250,000 in personal fundraising, and $250,000 in sponsorship. Each climber will cover their own expenses. All proceeds will go directly to support the For All Canadians campaign. 

To build a national public cord blood bank, Canadian Blood Services has committed to raise $12.5-million through the Campaign “For All Canadians” by 2014, with the provincial and territorial governments outside of Quebec providing the balance of the $48-million project and operational costs.

Media Event and Photo Op

What: Official launch of the #Climb4Cord campaign

Who: Canadian Blood Services CEO Dr. Graham Sher
ING DIRECT president & CEO Peter Aceto
Karen Dykstra, mother of eight-year-old Alysha, who was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and received a cord blood transplant in 2009
Several of the 25 climbers participating in the climb, including Jaime Stein

Where: ING DIRECT Café
221 Yonge St., Toronto (southeast corner of Yonge & Shuter)

Date: June 10, 2013

Time: 1 – 2 pm

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