National September campaign seeks 1,000 online male stem cell registrants
Canucks’ Erik Gudbranson scores with #MenGiveLife
(OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services and local partners across the country including the Vancouver Canucks have teamed up to run a new #MenGiveLife stem cell recruitment campaign. It runs from September 8 to18, coinciding with World Marrow Donor Day on Saturday, September 17. The goal of the campaign is to boost the number of male donors on Canada’s adult stem cell registry.
Stem cells from young men can offer patients better possible outcomes by reducing post-transplant complications such as graft vs. host disease. As men are typically bigger than women, they can also provide greater volumes of stem cells for eventual transplantation.
NHL player Erik Gudbranson is encouraging more men to use their power to give life by registering as a stem cell donor at blood.ca. Gudbranson recently joined the Canucks from the Florida Panthers and has a younger brother, Dennis, who received a life-saving stem cell transplant as a child.
Last year, the Gudbranson family was instrumental in helping the For All Canadians campaign raise money to establish Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank.
“In 2004, my brother Dennis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML),” said Canucks defenceman Erik Gudbranson. “After months of waiting and with only a one in 40,000 chance of finding a stem cell match, we learned of an adult match that would eventually save my brother’s life. Our goal through this campaign is to boost the number of donors on Canada’s adult stem cell registry and increase the potential for a match that can save a life.”
To kick off the campaign, Gudbranson will take part in a #MenGiveLife stem cell swab clinic at the Vancouver Convention Centre later today. In addition, swab events will be held in the coming days in Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa.
“We are continuing to work on building an ‘optimal’ stem cell network in Canada to serve patients more effectively,” says Mark Donnison, vice president of donor relations. “We encourage young men and women to join OneMatch but we need more male registrants to shift the composition of the registry. Last year, half of all stem cell donors chosen to help a Canadian patient were males aged 17 to 35. But they account for just 20 per cent of donors on Canada’s adult stem cell registry.”
The national and international transplant community has defined an ‘optimal donor’ as individuals 17 to 35 years of age and male. If a choice of donor is provided for a patient in need of a stem cell transplant, in most cases a male donor will be preferred by the attending doctor.
Blood stem cells are immature cells that can turn into any of the cells present in the bloodstream. They’re currently used for treating more than 80 blood-related diseases and disorders. Stem cells can be derived from bone marrow, blood or cord blood and all procedures are referred to as stem cell transplants.
#MenGiveLife features online video testimonials from Gudbranson, three stem cell donors and a new registrant.
Supporters are invited to promote the need for stem cell registrants by sharing their #MenGiveLife moment on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #MenGiveLife.
To discover all the ways a donor can give life or book an appointment, download the GiveBlood app or visit blood.ca.