Elaine O’Keeffe

Cord Blood Donor

Elaine O’Keeffe first set out to support Canada’s Lifeline by donating blood, at the suggestion of a good friend who’d received blood during treatment for cancer. Unfortunately, she was ineligible, but she quickly found other ways to support our mission to help patients: through financial giving and volunteering, as well as by registering to donate umbilical cord blood.

When Elaine delivered her son Charlie in June 2019, his cord blood was collected for Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, which provides cord blood stem cells for patients in need of a transplant. Cells may be stored for years before they are matched to a patient in need; some may never be required at all. But in this case, something incredible happened. Charlie’s cord blood was flagged as a potential match for a patient almost immediately, while Elaine was still in hospital recovering from the birth. She learned the patient was a child somewhere in Europe.

“It was like a miracle. Two miracles in one day,” Elaine marvels. “Being a part of Canada’s Lifeline means so much to me. It gives people hope. It means everything.”