TODAY — live Q&A with our CEO: Please join us today at 1 p.m. ET for the next live townhall with Graham. He will be joined by Chantale Pambrun, Director, Centre for Innovation, and Tanya Petraszko, Director Medical Services and Hospital Relations to discuss the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects our organization. Join the townhall by clicking on the meeting link in your Outlook invite. Can’t make it live? A recording will be available on your COVID-19 employee portal tomorrow. We look forward to seeing you all there!
Cord blood donors could be someone’s hope for life: As a child, N’kem Odita moved around the Greater Toronto Area with her mom, living in many multicultural communities. She learned very early in life that diversity was a strength. Now, as an adult working in Canada’s health sector, N’kem sees how diversity — specifically, stem cells from diverse donors — can save lives. The more genetically diverse someone’s background is, the more difficult it can be to find a matching stem cell donor for a transplant. Only 32 percent of potential donors on Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry currently represent diverse groups. That’s why in 2019, when N’kem and her Trinidadian husband found out she was pregnant with their son Marcus, they wanted to “pay it forward” by donating their baby’s umbilical cord blood, hoping that it would help a patient in need. Today is World Cord Blood Day. We encourage you to read about the benefits of cord blood on blood.ca/stories.
On the stem cell registry? Let us know you’re truly prepared to donate: We are calling on would-be stem cell donors to re-affirm their commitment to patients. Every year, hundreds of Canadian patients require a lifesaving stem cell transplant to treat more than 80 blood cancers and disorders. About 75 per cent of those patients will not find a match within their own families. To survive, they’ll turn instead to Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry, which recruits healthy volunteer donors. However, not all those who join the registry agree to donate when called. “Currently, when potential donors on the registry are contacted to donate stem cells for a patient, only about 50 per cent of them follow through,” says Dr. Heidi Elmoazzen, director of stem cells at Canadian Blood Services. This is well short of the World Marrow Donor Association recommended target of 80 per cent donor availability for member registries. Read more on blood.ca/stories.
Question of the day: With the holiday’s coming up, can I hold an in-person event on-site?
With the holiday’s quickly approaching, employees are looking for ways to connect and celebrate with colleagues; and we have started to receive a number of requests for in-person gatherings. As you would expect, the COVID-19 landscape continues to evolve. As we are in the middle of what is being called a “second wave” — restrictions are becoming even stricter as cases continue to rise in many provinces.
Unfortunately, Canadian Blood Services has made the decision to not allow in-person gatherings or celebrations on site at this time. This decision was made with an abundance of caution to protect the safety of our teams and our essential operations. This includes gatherings in the break rooms and cafeterias — which should be used for eating only.
Although our celebrations may look a little different this year, we encourage you to find ways to connect with your colleagues virtually. Whether it be a virtual dinner party, book-club, or mailing an old-fashioned holiday card — we need to find creative ways to celebrate the season. We’ve also got something up our sleeve. Stay tuned for virtual holiday events being announced soon through Your Digest and on Connect.
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This digest will highlight the latest policy and employee support measures, resources to help you manage our new reality and original content like articles and videos to remind us that what we do matters. No access to email? No problem — all this information and more can be found on blood.ca/employees from any device, no login required.
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