November 1 challenge to register stem cell donors for patients in need

The ethnic diversity on campus makes the University of Windsor an ideal place to seek stem cell donors, says Bryan Bedard, president of the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association. The most particular current need is for males in good health who are between 17 and 35 years old and of Asian or African heritage.

Bedard’s association will partner with the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to host the Windsor campus Get Swabbed event on Thursday, November 1, part of a national effort to register potential donors.

“The University of Windsor is the perfect venue for Get Swabbed,” Bedard says. “The students are so willing to get involved and help. This smaller school with a big heart is always ready to rise up to the challenge and compete with schools across the country to get the most optimal donors swabbed.”

During Thursday’s event, registrants will use cotton swabs to swab the inside of their cheeks, providing tissue samples that will be added to a database that identifies registrants as potential matches for a patient.

Representatives of the association will join student volunteers at three locations: the CAW Student Centre Commons, the Toldo Health Education Centre, and the Human Kinetics Building, Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ingrid Qemo, a master’s student of biological science, encourages everyone to participate.

“It's so simple to join the OneMatch registry—all it takes is a swab of the cheek,” she says. “We need greater diversity on the registry to help all ethnicities to find their match. We want to make this year’s Get Swabbed at the U of W the best one yet!”

Her classmate Kaitlyn Matthews will also volunteer on Thursday. She says her experience in professor Lisa Porter’s cancer lab gives her insight into the need.

“As a leukemia researcher, I am very familiar with the fact that blood cancers take thousands of lives annually; many of these are children and adolescent lives,” Matthews says. “You could save one of these lives by signing up for the OneMatch registry!”

Learn more on the OneMatch Facebook page.