Stem cells needed, donate next Tuesday

Stem cell graphic
The OneMatch Cell and Marrow Network is holding a “swab drive” on Tuesday, March 12 between 9 a.m. and noon at CFB Esquimalt Chief and Petty Officers’ Mess in conjunction with the Blood Donor Clinic being held between 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

“CFB Esquimalt and the Department of National Defence as a whole have always been such fantastic supporters and contributors to the Canadian Blood Donor” said Cassandra DeLuca, coordinator for OneMatch, “and I’m sure CFB Esquimalt will do the same for OneMatch.”

What is OneMatch?
OneMatch is a program of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and is recognized and supported by the Surgeon General of the Canadian Forces Health Services. OneMatch recruits healthy volunteers to be put on a donor list for patients with diseases, such as leukemia and lymphoma, which inhibit the ability to produce stem cells.

What are stem cells?
Stem cells are immature, blood forming cells capable of developing into any cell.

How do I become a potential donor?
Becoming a potential donor is done with a simple cheek swab which collects a DNA sample. The information stored on the OneMatch registry provides a brief snapshot of the potential donor’s medical history with the privacy of the donor being protected.

Who can donate?
OneMatch will accept all healthy donors between the ages of seventeen and fifty years of age.

Is there an ideal donor?
Yes, studies have shown that the best stem cell donors, meaning better long-term survival rates, are young males between seventeen to thirty-five years of age. Presently only twelve per cent of the registry is from this target group. Young ethnic males are especially being sought after because a patient is most likely to find their donor from their own ethnic group.

Can patients’ family members donate stem cells?
Yes, but unfortunately fewer than thirty per cent of patients, who need stem cell transplants, find a compatible donor within their own family. The rest rely on OneMatch. 

Are there different types of stem cell donations?
Yes, OneMatch facilitates two types of stem cell donation procedures; bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donations.

What is peripheral blood stem cell donation?
Peripheral blood stem cell donation is a non-surgical all-day procedure done in an outpatient clinic much like a blood donor clinic. Up to ninety percent of stem cell donations are peripheral blood donations.

What is bone marrow stem cell donation?
Bone marrow stem cell donation involves the collection of stem cells from the outer top of pelvic bone and is done under general anaesthetic. Donors are back to their usual routine in a few days.

-A/SLt Ron MacDougall, BPAO Trainee

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