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HomeNewsCampusCanadian Blood Services looks to young people for stem cell registry

Canadian Blood Services looks to young people for stem cell registry

Ontario Tech University students had the chance to save a life on Friday simply by signing up.

Canadian Blood Services set up a booth in the Shawenjigewining Hall, where students were asked to do a mouth swab to see if they were eligible to go on their stem cell registry.

The registry allows health officials to try to find a match when a patient needs stem cells for medical reasons. The campaign is called ‘A Thousand Swabs’ and stops at university campuses across Canada.

Laura Jewell, community development manager for Canadian Blood Services, says this program is open to anyone from 17 to 35, as the agency needs as much diversity as possible.

“Right now, about only a third of the registry is diverse, and the best match for a patient is going to be somebody that has the same ethnic ancestry as them,” she says. “So we want to have the registry reflect the Canadian population. We have a diverse population and want our registry to reflect that.”

Jewell says the reception from university students has been good so far.

“Honestly, it’s amazing because I know that every time we get a new person to register, it’s providing more hope to patients who are waiting for a transplant,” she says. “So it fills my heart to see all the students that are actually really engaged and excited to register for the stem cell registry.”

However, Canadian Blood Services needs more than stem cells. It also needs more young people to donate blood.

Currently, there is a need most known blood types. According to the Canadian Blood Services website, the most needed blood types are O-, O+, and A-, with the national inventory below 10 days’ worth.

Emily Crow is a medical laboratory science student at Ontario Tech and is the president of the university’s Canadian Blood Services club. She says the need for blood is real.

“I have known a lot of people who have gotten blood transfusions, and there’s such a need for blood,” she says. “I joined last year, and I spent so much time doing promotional material because donating blood is a necessity right now when you’re lacking a lot of different types.”

Canadian Blood Services is planning to head to universities such as McGill, the University of Toronto, and Brock.