In nearly the same amount of time it takes to play one shift in a hockey game, you could be on your way to saving someone's life.
It takes 80 seconds for the Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to swab a person's mouth, starting the process of assessing that person's potential of becoming a stem cell donor. Once assessed, that donor's name will be put into a database and called upon as required.
Sagamok Anishnawbek, host of the 41st annual Little Native Hockey League (LNHL), united with Canadian Blood Services to empower youth to become community heroes on and off the ice by registering with and raising awareness of the OneMatch program.
According to MaryLynn Pride, patient and transplant liaison specialist with OneMatch, there are currently 14 First Nations people in Ontario, affected by diseases such as Leukemia or Lymphoma, who are in need of an unrelated stem cell donor. Donors who are most likely to help patients are young men between the ages of 17 to 35, but donors are accepted up to the age of 50.
Although OneMatch has more than 307,000 registrants willing to donate their stem cells to any patient in need, Canada’s First Nations people are under-represented and make up only 0.9 per cent of the Network.
The LNHL Tournament has brought more than 125 teams and nearly 2,500 players and coaching staff, along with roughly 5,000 hockey fans, to Greater Sudbury for the week. As far as statistics go, that's a large pool of possible matches.
“For any patient who's awaiting a stem cell transplant, the best hope of them finding a match is within their own ethnic community,” Pride said.
“By registering, anybody has the possibility to give a patient back their life, back the opportunity to live a full, fulfilling life,” she added.
Sagamok Chief Paul Eshkakogan was among those who registered with OneMatch during a swab event held at the Countryside Arena March 13.
“We, as a community, have decided to support OneMatch and the important work that they're doing, trying to recruit First Nation Aboriginal registrants into the program,” the chief said. “We saw an opportunity to bring (OneMatch) to the Little NHL because of the number of First Nation people that are here in town.”
OneMatch will also host a swab event to register potential donors at the Sudbury Arena on March 15.
To register as a potential stem cell donor, or to find a blood donor clinic in your area, visit www.onematch.ca or phone Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to have a registration package mailed to your address.
Posted by Arron Pickard