Get Swabbed! University Challenge to register new stem cell donors

There are almost 1,000 Canadians currently searching for a matching stem cell donor, and organizers of an event on campus tomorrow want to know whether you could be the match that saves a life.

The University of Windsor is one of 20 campuses across the country participating in the Get Swabbed! Challenge, which invites students, faculty and staff to register for the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.

The procedure is a simple cheek swab to collect a genetic sample, which will be entered into the registry for patients who need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant to treat leukemia or other diseases. Potential donors must have a Canadian health card and be:

  • between 17 and 50 years old;
  • in good general health; and
  • willing to donate to any patient in need.

A registration event on Tuesday, November 1, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the CAW Student Centre, will jumpstart Ontario’s first Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

The Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association was founded in July 2005 by UWindsor alumni Bryan and Joanne Bedard after their daughter Katelyn was unable to find a bone marrow donor and lost her battle with leukemia.

The late Essex MPP Bruce Crozier won unanimous approval in the provincial legislature for his private member’s bill designating November Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

“Even though Bruce never met Katelyn, he took our cause to heart and worked tirelessly on our behalf,” says Bryan Bedard. “Because of him, Ontarians will be reminded every November of their power to save lives by donating stem cells.”

He said he hopes to add hundreds of young, male registrants to Canada’s stem cell network. Greater ethnic diversity is required to make the registry more reflective of Canada’s population.

Find more information, including how to order a registration kit, at