Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month unites Ontario youth to save lives

Annual Get Swabbed! University Challenge registers new stem cell donors

November 1, 2011 (WINDSOR, ON) – This November Ontario celebrates the first annual Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month to honour the legacy of a Windsor, Ontario toddler who succumbed to illness while waiting for a stem cell transplant. Ontario youth are organizing registration events to bring in hundreds of new stem cell donors to OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to support patients like Katelyn.

Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month is a result of Bill 80 brought forth by the late MPP Bruce Crozier. MPP Crozier has been an instrumental force in supporting the work of the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association (KBBMA) and OneMatch to raise awareness of the need for younger donors to support all patients in need of a stem cell transplant.

“Working with Bruce Crozier we always shared a passion for reaching out to youth, as they are tomorrow’s hope for patients searching for a stem cell match,” says Bryan Bedard, KBBMA President. “This November, we honour Katelyn’s memory and Bruce’s vision as we celebrate the first annual Bone Marrow Awareness Month.”

To honour the legacy of the late MPP Crozier and the memory of Katelyn Bedard, university students across Ontario have joined the Get Swabbed! University Challenge with the goal of adding hundreds of young, male registrants to Canada’s stem cell Network. Students understand the need for young, ethnically diverse male donors and are inspired to make OneMatch more reflective of Canada’s population. In fact, while there are more than 300,000 Canadians currently registered on the OneMatch Network, there are still over 940 patients currently searching for a matching stem cell donor.

Celebrations for Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month include swabbing and awareness events during the month of November across Ontario. For information on all upcoming events and to register as a stem cell donor, visit www.onematch.ca and www.facebook.com/onematch.

About Canadian Blood Services
OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network

Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is a program dedicated to recruiting healthy, committed volunteer donors for patients in need of blood (hematopoietic) stem cells. OneMatch also conducts searches for matched, unrelated donors for patients; ensures donors are healthy and able to donate; and, coordinates the collection and delivery of stem cells in Canada and around the world. As an accredited member of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA), OneMatch represents an important part of an international group of 65 registries and 47 cord blood banks that transmit their donor HLA typing results to Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW). As a result, when searching on behalf of Canadian patients, OneMatch has access to more than 18.1 million volunteer donors in 28 countries and more than 400,000 cord blood units from 47 cord banks in 28 countries. As part of Canadian Blood Services, the provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to OneMatch. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.onematch.ca.

About Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month

As a result of Katelyn’s illness, her family and supporters started the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association (KBBMA) with a mission is to raise awareness about the need for stem cell donors in Canada. KBBMA has been working with past MPP Bruce Crozier to increase the number of young Canadian stem cell donors, and became an official partner of OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. In November 2010, MPP Crozier’s Private Member’s Bill #80 entitled, "An Act to Make November Bone Marrow Awareness Month – the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Act”, received unanimous approval in the Ontario Legislature marking each November in Ontario Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

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