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

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula plugs into EV ownership

Sidney and Central Saanich record the second and third-highest EV ownership rate per 1,000 residents

PHOTOS: Kids, parents cool off at Langford splash park

Centennial Park is home to a popular water feature

Colwood man to ride 400 kilometres to fight kids cancer

Man riding for a beloved family member who died from leukemia at 13-years-old

Saanich woman completes 10 marathons, raises double her initial goal amount

Over $20,000 raised for Victoria Hospitals Foundation

UPDATED: Missing 25-year-old Saanich woman found Saturday

Yuhan Jin thought to be travelling by foot or bus, carrying two suitcases

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

Travel restrictions inspiring co-operation in border communities

Small border towns are asking for exemption to travel ban

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Woman arrested near Nanaimo beach after alleged road rage incidents

37-year-old woman facing charges including assault, assaulting a police officer, impaired driving

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Leave your deets when dining: Restaurants taking personal info to trace COVID-19

Health officials say indoor dining presents a higher risk

Raptors kneel for both American and Canadian anthems ahead of tipoff

Majority of players have substituted their names on the backs of their jerseys with racial and social justice messages

Most Read