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Stem cell donors being recruited at Manitoba universities


The Canadian Blood Services is heading to Manitoba university campuses in hopes of finding some young stem cell registrants.

From Feb. 5 to 16, the organization is setting up swabbing events at the University of Winnipeg, Brandon, and Manitoba. The goal is to recruit people aged 17 to 35 to register to become a stem cell donor.

“We are engaging post-secondary students to help us swab over 1,000 students across the country during that time,” said Kristy McFee with the Canadian Blood Services.

McFee explained that stem cells can be used to treat more than 80 diseases, including leukemia and lymphoma. She added that there are about 1,000 Canadian patients who are currently looking for a transplant.

As for why the Canadian Blood Services is targeting those aged 17 to 25, Mcfee said it’s because they see the best patient outcomes with donors from that age group.

“If [students] are not able to make it to an event, you can actually order a kit online and do this right at your house even,” she said in an interview on Tuesday.

McFee added that there’s only a small chance of someone being a match, which is why they need to add as many people as possible to the registry.

However, if you do turn out to be a match, the Canadian Blood Services will call to see if you want to be a donor.

“We encourage people when they get that call to say yes, because they might be the only person in the world who is going to be a match for that patient,” McFee said.

McFee added that the process of donating stem cells is similar to a blood donation, but could take about six hours.

More information can be found online.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace. Top Stories

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