Shelley Eaves

Swab Mob events target optimal stem cell donors

Last February, Shelley Eaves got the kind of news no one ever wants to hear: her cancer had returned.

Last February, Shelley Eaves got the kind of news no one ever wants to hear: after enduring chemotherapy for leukemia in 2010, her cancer had returned.

She now needs a stem cell transplant. Since none of Eaves’ siblings are a match, it’s up to Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to find a donor within its database.

“I started doing some research and realized there’s such a huge need and a lot of the wrong type of donors on the database,” Eaves said.

About 90 per cent of donors are women. Of the 10 per cent of men donors, only four per cent are within the optimal 17 to 35 age group, which provides the best post-transplant outcomes.

Suitable matches are also most likely found within a shared ethnic background, yet currently 75 per cent of all donors are caucasian. There is a strong need for young, diverse, male donors.

“We’re really reaching out to any ethnic community, whether it’s Asian, Southeast Asian, First Nations … the best chance of a match comes from within your own genetic ethnic group. There’s a need from within those communities.”

Eaves’ employer, Royal Bank of Canada, for which the 58-year-old works as a community development manager, got behind the cause, along with the University of Victoria.

The two groups will host OneMatch “Swab Mob” donor registration drive events aimed at attracting optimal donors. Registration takes about 20 minutes and requires getting a cheek swabbed.

Swab Mobs are set for Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at The Atrium, 800 Yates St. and Nov. 16 from 5:30 until 9 p.m. at UVic’s McKinnon Gym.

The UVic Vikes men’s and women’s basketball teams have joined the campaign to register optimal stem cell donors to make OneMatch more reflective of Canada’s population.

“We understand the need to identify as many healthy young adult donors as possible and we are happy to support both OneMatch and RBC in helping increase the number of donors,” said Clint Hamilton, director of Vikes athletics and recreation.

Nearly 1,000 Canadians are waiting for a stem cell donor.

“It takes time,” Eaves said of her own wait for a donor. “It’s very normal for it to take six months and many people wait much, much longer to find one.”

See onematch.ca for more information.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

Victoria Police host Faith-Based Safety Forum in light of recent religious attacks

More than 35 faith-based leaders voice concerns, air questions

Still barriers to abortion access on Vancouver Island

Experts say transportation, support, doctors can be barriers to accessing abortion

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read