Students get cheeky with Canadian Blood Services for stem cell registry

The Canadian Blood Services visited the college on March 27 to recruit students to get swabbed and save lives. The CBS went to the ACCE building in hopes that anyone aged 17-35 years old would sit down for a 10 minute questionnaire and swab their cheeks. The stem cell registry helps anyone with leukemia, lymphoma […]
Photo: Emily Britton
Steve Gleddie poses with a Canadian Blood Services pamphlet. He is one of the volunteers recruiting students at the Student Commons March 27.

The Canadian Blood Services visited the college on March 27 to recruit students to get swabbed and save lives.

The CBS went to the ACCE building in hopes that anyone aged 17-35 years old would sit down for a 10 minute questionnaire and swab their cheeks.

The stem cell registry helps anyone with leukemia, lymphoma and bone marrow diseases.

The results of the cheek swabbing goes to the CBS lab. Then, they type what cell it is and find a patient that is a match.

It is a one in 500,000 chance for a patient to find their match, but when it does happen, the process to separate the stem cells takes four hours. The CBS would draw blood from one arm, separate the stem cells from the blood, and then pump the red and white cells back into the other arm.

Kaitlyn Harper, a pre-health student, passed the stands set up on the first floor when she was approached by a volunteer and decided to get swabbed.

“It seems like a good cause,” Harper said. “So I figured, why not?”

Steve Gleddie, a volunteer for the blood service and a retired immunologist, said that 75 per cent of the stem cells they receive are Caucasian and that they are not ethnically diverse. As such, they need more stem cells from different backgrounds.

“It only takes 10 minutes. It is non-invasive and painless and only 25 per cent of people can find their match within their families,” said Gleddie.

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