UPEI students encouraged to attend on-campus stem cell swabbing event February 7 and 8

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Canadian Blood Services and the UPEI Student Union are encouraging students to attend a stem cell swabbing event on February 7 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm and February 8 from 12:00–2:00 pm at the W.A. Murphy Student Centre.

Members of the UPEI campus community between the ages of 17 to 35 can register to become a stem cell donor and potentially be a match for one of the nearly 1,000 Canadian patients waiting for a lifesaving stem cell transplant.

“At any time, each one of us could need a stem cell transplant to save our life or that of a family member,” said Marilyn Barrett, director of UPEI Health and Wellness Centre. “To get on the list of people willing to donate stem cells, it is as easy as taking a swab of the inside of your cheek. You can request a kit and do this at home, or you could come to a clinic. In mere minutes, you could be added to the database of volunteers who could someday save someone's life, maybe even the life of your own family member or a friend.”

Stem cell transplants can treat over 80 diseases and disorders, and people aged 17 to 35 make the best lifesaving stem cell donors. When a patient undergoes a stem cell transplant, it is often their last hope for survival. The use of stem cells from younger donors typically leads to better patient outcomes. 

The UPEI Student Union’s “UPEI Gives Blood” committee is helping Canadian Blood Services with the swabbing event and is encouraging everyone who is eligible to attend and get tested. 

“Stem cell swabbing on campus is super important because only people aged 17 to 35 are eligible,” said Megan Downe, VP of social media with the UPEI Gives Blood committee. “Stem cell transplants can be lifesaving for cancer patients, and the process to register is easy. We are hoping that students will come see us to do their cheek swabs this week! Our club is eager to meet members of the UPEI community and spread our passion for blood and stem cell donation!”

Those who are unable to attend can still register online. For more information or to join the registry, visit www.blood.ca/stemcells, or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283).

Find out more about the campaign at www.blood.ca/swabatschool.

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Melanie Taylor
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