cord blood

Adapting traditions to help save lives


Saturday, February 01, 2020
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Eno Ituen

 

All new babies demand flexibility of their parents, but one newborn in Ottawa inspired his mother Eno Ituen to put a twist on an important cultural tradition.

In Eno’s home country of Nigeria, generations of parents have buried the placentas of their newborns next to the seeds of trees and even tended those trees in the hope their children would thrive along with the plants.

“My placenta and that of my husband were buried when we were born,” Eno says.

But giving birth to her son in Canada in March 2019 made Eno’s decision more complex. At first, her mother-in-law proposed taking the placenta back to Nigeria for burial, but Eno hesitated at the thought of sending it across the world in a suitcase.

Perhaps more significantly, she learned about how it could be used to save a life.

Cord blood stem cells can treat many diseases

Eno delivered her baby at The Ottawa Hospital, one of four collection centres where parents can donate cord blood to Canada’s public cord blood bank. Blood from a newborn’s umbilical cord and placenta is rich with stem cells that can be used to treat more than 80 diseases and disorders.

Donations become part of Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, where they are made available to any matched patient in Canada or abroad in need of a stem cell transplant. The cord blood bank along with the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry is an important resource for the many patients who can’t find a matching donor within their own families.

Finding a cultural balance and giving life twice

Still, Eno felt challenged to get her mother-in-law on board.

“How do you tell a Nigerian grandmom that you want to donate something that has come out of my uterus with her grandchild?” Eno wondered.

In the end, Eno and her husband swayed the child’s grandmother by explaining the lifesaving potential of those cells. A donation by this family from Africa would also help make Canada’s cord blood bank more diverse. Diversity in both the cord blood bank and stem cell registry benefits patients because the most successful stem cell matches occur between donors and patients who share the same racial and ethnic background.

“Why bury something this precious?” Eno says.

Instead, they went ahead with the donation and found another way to respect tradition.

“When our baby’s umbilical cord stump fell off days after his birth, my mother-in-law saved it. She traveled with it to Nigeria and buried it,” says Eno. Families can also ask Canadian Blood Services to return the placenta to them after the cord blood has been collected.

The process of donating was also less cumbersome than Eno had imagined.

“I was surprised at how stress-free and easy the donation was with no impact on me and my baby,” says Eno. “It felt good knowing we were donating for a good cause,” she adds, describing her decision as “giving life twice.”

Spreading the word

Since having her baby, Eno has chatted with other Nigerian moms about her donation experience.

“Some of them may think that the process is tiring,” she says. “If you keep telling them about the uses of cord blood and reminding them that the process has no direct impact on mother and child, I’m sure more moms would walk through that door.”

This Black History Month, we encourage more Canadians from diverse ethnic backgrounds to register to join our stem cell registry or donate cord blood. You and your tiny hero can save lives!

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‘Paying it forward’ through cord blood donation


Thursday, November 14, 2019
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Jessica

Like most parents, Jessica vowed she would do everything and anything she could to keep her new baby happy and healthy, once she entered the world.

One critical thing she knew she could do was donate her baby’s cord blood.

Because Jessica is Caucasian and her 9-month-old daughter Abigail is of mixed ethnicity, it is unlikely that Jessica would be a match for her baby if she ever got sick and required a stem cell transplant.

That’s because patients needing a stem cell transplant are much more likely to find a match from someone within their own ethnic group. So it is unlikely that Jessica would be a match for Abigail, who is half Afro-Caribbean.

Additionally, only 31 per cent of the registered donors in Canada’s adult stem cell registry are ethnically diverse. This means that Abigail, her two older brothers, and millions of other Canadians of diverse ancestral backgrounds would statistically have a harder time finding a stem cell match if they ever needed access to potentially lifesaving stem cells.

However - it is much easier to match patients with stem cells sourced from cord blood.

With cord blood, an exact match is not needed. Further, cord blood stem cell transplants have a lower chance of rejection than with other sources of stem cells. A diverse cord blood supply made up of donors from all ethnic backgrounds means we have a better chance of finding a match for patients in need.

The realization that she could help increase access to potentially lifesaving stem cells for her kids – and others like them – is what compelled Jessica to become a cord blood donor.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

In 2011, Canadian Blood Services launched the Campaign For All Canadians – a fundraising effort to help build a national, public cord blood bank for the hundreds of Canadian patients in need of stem cell transplants each year.

After successfully reaching the goal of $12.5 million in financial donations, Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank became fully operational, and now has four collection hospitals across Canada that collect some of the world’s highest quality, ethnically diverse cord blood units.

 

When Abigail was born in February 2019, Jessica chose to donate her umbilical cord blood to Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank as a way of “paying it forward” and helping to increase the chances for people like her daughter to find a match.

Jessica also donated her son’s cord blood back in 2015. Both times, she delivered at The Ottawa Hospital General Campus – one of the four designated collection sites across the country.

“I know that if one of my kids ever needed a [stem cell] match, they may not find a donor,” says Jessica. “It can be challenging for people who are of mixed ethnicity to find a match, so I wanted to help change the status quo.”

“My optimism is growing”

Jessica’s positive experience as a cord blood donor has translated into her becoming a strong advocate for Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank. Whenever possible, she encourages and educates others about the ease of the process – and raises awareness about particular need for those who are ethnically diverse to register to donate.

As a professional photographer, Jessica also has an opportunity to meet with new parents on a regular basis, during newborn photoshoots. She says she often brings up the topic of cord blood donation and has been happy to learn that more and more people of all ethnicities are now donating – or at the very least, are becoming more aware of public cord blood banking as an option.

“I can’t say for sure if any of my kids would find a [stem cell] match today if they needed one, but my optimism is growing, and my hopes are certainly much higher than they would have been 10 years ago, thanks to Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank,” says Jessica.

Current statistics can back this optimism up.

The percentage of non-Caucasian mothers consenting to donate their umbilical cord blood is growing across Canadian Blood Services’ partner sites, and in 2018-2019, an average of 68 per cent of total collections came from ethnically diverse donors.

Overall, through Canadian Blood Services’ strong partnership with collection hospitals and our dedicated recruitment and educational efforts funded by financial donors, we have been successful in establishing an ethnically diverse cord blood inventory in Canada that is currently 61 per cent non-Caucasian.

“I know it can be hard for those of multiple ethnicities to find a match, so the more people of diverse backgrounds who donate, the better. There’s really no reason not to donate,” says Jessica.

“You wouldn’t throw away a perfectly good heart if someone standing next to you needed a transplant – so why should we look at cord blood any differently?”

Thanks in part to support from financial donors, Canada is now home to one of the most state-of-the-art public cord blood banks in the world. This year, World Cord Blood Day and National Philanthropy Day both fall on Friday, November 15.

Learn more about how you can help make a lifesaving difference for patients in need by registering to be a cord blood donor, or donating financially to Canadian Blood Services.

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Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank delivers first unit to a Canadian hospital


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Delivery of cord blood stem cells an important milestone

(OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank has delivered a cord blood unit for the transplant of stem cells to the first Canadian patient.

“We’re so excited to be giving a Canadian patient the gift of life,” says Dr. Heidi Elmoazzen, Canadian Blood Services’ director, cord blood bank and stem cell manufacturing. “We expect this will be the first of many lifesaving transplants from our bank for Canadians yet to come.”

Rich in stem cells, cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord and placenta of volunteer donors shortly after birth. They can, in turn, be transplanted if an appropriate donor and recipient match is found. Cord blood stem cells are used for treating over 80 diseases and disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia, inherited immune system and metabolic disorders, as well as sickle cell anemia.

As of today, Canadian Blood Services has collected over 11,200 cord blood units from mothers across Canada and has banked over 1,400 units which are available for searching and matching. As the cord blood bank increases its inventory, due to the generosity of mothers donating their baby’s cord blood, the number of cord blood units available for successful matching and transplantation will continue to grow.

At any given time, Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is searching on behalf of hundreds of Canadian patients in need of an unrelated blood stem cell donor. Approximately 75 per cent of patients who need a blood stem cell transplant are unable to find a suitable match within their own family. 

“Many Canadian patients have unique stem cell matching needs reflective of Canada’s extensive ethnic diversity says Dr. Elmoazzen. “The goal of Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is to create more transplant opportunities for Canadian patients with a cord blood bank that is reflective of the unique diversity that we see here in Canada.”

Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is part of an international network of publically banked cord blood units. Currently there are almost 700,000 publically banked cord blood units around the world. However, even with this access, it is still not possible to find a match for about half of the patients in this country who need a stem cell transplant. Canada needs to continue to build the most ethnically diverse public cord blood bank possible to provide Canadian patients with more opportunities to receive a stem cell transplant.

“The delivery and ultimate transplantation of the first cord blood unit to a Canadian patient represents an important milestone,” says Dr. Graham Sher, chief executive officer with Canadian Blood Services. “It is the realization of a commitment, several years in the making, to provide a public cord blood bank that creates transplant opportunities For All Canadians, the theme of our recent fundraising campaign.”



Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank opened in 2013. The provincial and territorial ministers of health (outside of Québec) contributed to the total cost of $48 million to establish and operate the bank. With the help of many generous individuals and corporations, Canadian Blood Services also raised a contribution of over $12.5 million through a three-year fundraising Campaign For All Canadians.

Associated links

For information about stem cells collected through cord blood, watch our cord blood video.

Information about Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank can be found on our website at blood.ca/cordblood.

See our infographic about cord blood donation.

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Donors encouraged to honour childhood cancer awareness month


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Canadians can help childhood cancer patients by donating blood, stem cells or cord blood

Canadian Blood Services is asking eligible donors to make an appointment to donate blood this September in honour of childhood cancer awareness month.


“We hope Canadians will consider taking an hour out of their schedule this month to help save the life of a child fighting cancer,” says Mark Donnison, vice-president of donor relations. “With many families returning from summer vacation, we want to encourage them to include blood donation as part of their new regular routine. There are over 55,000 open appointments across Canada during the month of September. Men between 17 and 35 can sign up to be a stem cell donor and expectant mothers can also help by donating their baby’s cord blood.”


Families affected by childhood cancer and childhood cancer survivors will share their stories throughout the month of September by visiting local blood donor clinics across the country. Donors are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member to their next appointment.


One of these childhood cancer survivors is Stephanie Simmons, who founded the Gold Ribbon Campaign with her family to raise awareness of childhood cancer, as well as the important role blood donations play in cancer treatment.


Stephanie is a three-time brain tumour survivor and was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004 when she was only nine years old. As part of her treatment she required ten different brain surgeries, 30 doses of radiation and underwent two years of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy severely affected Stephanie’s blood counts and she required multiple blood transfusions to allow her to continue with her treatment.


“I know that I would not be here today if it was not for generous blood donors who gave me a chance to beat this disease,” says Stephanie, who has been cancer-free since 2008. “Unfortunately, there are thousands of other children undergoing treatment for cancer across the country, and many of them are depending on blood products to continue making regular appointments.”


In addition to blood donation, Canadians can also make a lifesaving difference by signing up to join the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Registry or donating cord blood to the Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank. Stem cell or cord blood transplants are used to treat 80 diseases and disorders, including certain forms of leukemias and lymphomas.


Quick Facts

  • On average it can take up to five blood donors to help one child undergoing cancer treatment.
  • It can take as many as eight donors a week to help a child with leukemia.
  • Every year approximately 1,500 children are diagnosed with cancer.
  • Every week 1,600 new blood donors are needed across Canada
  • At any given time there are hundreds of Canadians searching for a stem cell donor.


To book an appointment to help save a child’s life, download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca. Families affected by childhood cancer can share their story by using the hashtag #blood4kids

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Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank is now officially launched


Thursday, June 25, 2015

 

Media are invited to join us on June 25 for a first-hand look at Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank.

When: June 25, 2015 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m

Where: 40 Concourse Gate, Ottawa, Ontario

Who:    Heidi Elmoazzen, Director, Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank
 

National resource now available for Canadians
in need of stem cells

 

(OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, a national, public health-care resource has been officially launched.  Expectant mothers who give birth at participating hospitals can now help build an ethnically diverse stem cell bank in Canada by donating their baby’s cord blood.
 

Five hospital sites in four cities – Ottawa (2), Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver have partnered with Canadian Blood Services to build this program. “This is a significant achievement for the Canadian health-care system,” said Dr. Graham Sher, Canadian Blood Services chief executive officer. “Through our hospital partners, we are able to provide expectant mothers the opportunity to donate to a national public cord blood bank; increasing the chances for patients who need a stem cell transplant to find a match.”


Cord blood is a rich source of blood forming stem cells that can be used in the treatment of over 80 diseases and disorders. With the number of Canadian patients waiting to receive a stem cell transplant tripling over the last five years, demand for stem cells has been growing at a steady rate.


On any given day, nearly 1,000 Canadians are in need of a stem cell donor and many of these patients are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.  With Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank we are increasing the opportunities for these patients to find a stem cell match, as well as contributing to the international database for patients around the world.  Approximately 25 per cent of people requiring a stem cell transplant are able to find a match within their own family – the other 75 per cent must look outside their families for an unrelated donor.  Even with access to over 635,000 publicly - banked cord blood units and over 25.5 million adult donors, unfortunately, half of the patients in Canada requiring a stem cell donor are without a match.   


In March 2011, provincial and territorial ministries of health (except Quebec) committed to the establishment of an ethnically diverse, national, publicly-funded stem cell bank from umbilical cord blood. A $48 million investment was made of which Canadian Blood Services committed to raising $12.5 million in public funding. To fulfill the commitment and make the national public cord blood bank a reality, Canadian Blood Services embarked on its first fundraising campaign, the Campaign For All Canadians.  Through the generosity of individuals and corporations across Canada, over $12.5 million dollars was raised.  

 

Quick Facts

  • Our partnering hospitals are:
    • The Ottawa Hospital General Campus and Civic Campus,
    • William Osler Health System’s Brampton Civic Hospital,
    • Alberta Health Services’ Lois Hole Hospital for Women in Edmonton, and
    • BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre in Vancouver.
  • The above hospitals are now collecting cord blood donations to be banked publically from expectant mothers who deliver in these locations.
  • Cord blood stem cells are less mature than adult stem cells from bone marrow or peripheral blood which means that cord blood stem cells do not necessarily require the donor and patient to be a perfect match.
  • Approximately 75 per cent of patients rely on the generosity of an unrelated stem cell donor to save their life.
  • Blood stem cells are immature cells that give rise to the cells found in the bloodstream: red blood cells for oxygen transportation, platelets for blood clotting and white blood cells for fighting infections.
  • Mothers delivering at The Ottawa Hospital (Civic Campus or General Campus) are given the option to consent to donate their baby’s cord blood for research if the cord blood unit does not qualify to be banked.


Associated Resources

 
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What is cord blood?


Associated Links

 

 

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Partnership Strikes a Cord


Monday, November 05, 2012

Canadian Blood Services’ cord blood program and The Ottawa Hospital will provide increased hope for stem cell patients

November 5, 2012 (OTTAWA) – Canada’s first national public umbilical cord blood bank is one step closer to realization thanks to a new partnership between Canadian Blood Services and The Ottawa Hospital. The Ottawa Hospital will be the first collection site for the national cord blood bank, playing a central role in the success of the program. This partnership will assist Canadian Blood Services with the recruitment of potential mothers and the collection of their baby’s donated cord blood during the validation and testing phase of the program.

“We are honoured to have The Ottawa Hospital as our first collection hospital. We look forward to continuing a long and productive working relationship,” says Dr. Graham Sher, Chief Executive Officer at Canadian Blood Services. “This partnership underscores the collaborative effort our organizations have taken to launch a national public cord blood bank - one that offers more opportunities to find a match and save more lives.”

Providing Canadians with a new national public cord blood bank will help close the gap in Canadian Blood Services’ ability to find matches for patients through our stem cell network – OneMatch. This is especially important to Canadians as many stem cell patients are from diverse populations, particularly Aboriginal, Black and multi-ethnic. These patients often have increased complexities when finding a matching donor.

“The Ottawa Hospital is proud to be the first collection site in Canada for the national public cord blood bank and is pleased to join forces with Canadian Blood Services on this important initiative. By working together, we can provide increased hope for patients waiting for stem cell transplants in our community and across the country. ” says Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO at The Ottawa Hospital.

Working with the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank, The Ottawa Hospital will begin recruiting volunteer mothers and collecting their baby’s donated cord blood units to be publically banked starting in the spring of 2013. Healthy pregnant women, 18 years of age or older, will be able to donate their baby’s cord blood with signed consent to any patient in need.

Canadian Blood Services is currently asking healthy moms who are delivering at The Ottawa Hospital, General and Civic campuses, to donate their baby’s cord blood during the validation phase until March 2013. This testing phase is to ensure that the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank runs at the highest quality when it launches in the spring of 2013. For more information on the OneMatch Public Cord Blood Bank, please visit www.blood.ca/cordblood.

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About The Ottawa Hospital

The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) is a bilingual multi-campus, health sciences centre offering comprehensive, high quality, patient-focused health-care services to a community of 1.2 million people in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario. With over 1,100 beds and an annual budget over $1 Billion, TOH is one of the largest teaching and research hospitals in Canada. To meet the high demand for its services, it relies on a dedicated and compassionate team of 12,000 employees, 1,200 physicians and more than 1,700 volunteers. The Ottawa Hospital is renowned for its leadership in patient care, research, education and for its investment in state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Working together with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, the University of Ottawa, and other partners, TOH is gaining national and international recognition for high quality patient care, teaching and research. www.ottawahospital.on.ca

About Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network

Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is a program dedicated to recruiting healthy, committed volunteer donors for patients in need of blood (hematopoietic) stem cells. OneMatch also conducts searches for matched, unrelated donors for patients; ensures donors are healthy and able to donate; and, coordinates the collection and delivery of stem cells in Canada and around the world. As an accredited member of the World Marrow Donor Association (WMDA), OneMatch represents an important part of an international group of 71 registries and 48 cord blood banks that transmit their donor HLA typing results to Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide (BMDW). As a result, when searching on behalf of Canadian patients, OneMatch has access to more than 20 million volunteer donors in 48 countries and more than 550,000 cord blood units from 47 cord banks in 31 countries. As part of Canadian Blood Services, the provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to OneMatch. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.onematch.ca.

For more information contact:

Annie Barrette
Communications Specialist
Canadian Blood Services
T: (705) 688-7341
C: (705) 665-6514


Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor
The Ottawa Hospital
T: (613) 737-8460

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Building New Hope for Patients


Monday, September 30, 2013

Canadian Blood Services’ and The Ottawa Hospital celebrate first step towards building Canada’s first national public cord blood bank

September 30, 2013 (OTTAWA) – Starting today, mothers delivering at The Ottawa Hospital’s General and Civic Campuses, will have an opportunity to donate their babies’ umbilical cord blood as part of Canadian Blood Services’ initial step in building Canada’s first national public cord blood bank.

With $6.3M in charitable donations so far, once completed, the National Public Cord Blood Bank, together with the help of Canadians through Canadian Blood Services’ $12.5M fundraising campaign “For All Canadians”, is positioned to reach an approximate target of 18,000 donated cord blood units over six years. Ottawa represents the first of four collection cities and one of two Canadian Blood Services manufacturing and storage facilities contained within the original east-to-west funding agreement with provincial and territorial ministers of health. On March 14, 2011, provincial and territorial ministries of health (except Québec) announced a combined investment of $48 million, including $12.5 million in fundraising, to create a national public umbilical cord blood bank.

At any given time there are almost 1,000 Canadian patients looking for an unrelated stem cell match to survive. This is exceedingly difficult for many ‘hard-to-match’ patients when their best chance at finding a compatible donor may lie within umbilical cord blood stem cells. Cord blood stem cells have unique abilities that make them easier to use for transplantation; even when a match between donor and patient is not perfect. This is compounded by patients of diverse heritage where their only hope for a match may come from umbilical cord blood, and not from an adult stem cell donor. Ethically-diverse donors continue to be largely underrepresented on the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. By building a national public cord blood bank dedicated to the unique needs of Canadians, patients will have an additional opportunity for finding their match and thereby surviving their illnesses and cancers.

“We are elated to be launching this first phase of the National Public Cord Blood Bank with The Ottawa Hospital” says Dr. Heidi Elmoazzen, Director of the National Public Cord Blood Bank. “A lot of hard work has been put into Ottawa and we are very excited to be able to continue building Canada's first national public cord blood bank in Brampton (GTA), Edmonton and Vancouver by mid-2014.”

If it were not for a stem cell transplant; Nate Lupton would not be alive today. Nate was born on April 7, 2010 and diagnosed with Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome, a rare immune deficiency that affects one in 250,000 live male births. The disease impacts the body’s ability to produce platelets and fight infection. For many of these patients, the only cure lies within a stem cell transplant. At 8 months old, Nate received his cord blood stem cells from an international donor and was transplant at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital.

“Cord blood has given my son a chance at a normal life and to experience all things great in life” says Amy Lupton, Nate’s mother. “But this cord came from outside Canada and we were lucky. Canadians now have the chance to change this. Starting with The Ottawa Hospital and moving across Canada, moms can help more Canadian stem cell patients like my son, find their match by voluntarily donating their baby’s cord blood.”

Healthy pregnant women, 18 years of age or older, 34 weeks or later in their pregnancy and not having a multiple pregnancy can donate their baby’s cord blood with their signed consent. For more information on the National Public Cord Blood Bank, please visit www.blood.ca/cordblood.

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#CordAThon


Monday, June 16, 2014

Canada’s public cord blood bank being built one tweet at a time

June 16, 2014 (CANADA) – Canadian Blood Services’ fundraising campaign For All Canadians has gone viral. The organization has committed to raise $12.5 million to help build a national public cord blood bank. Currently, only $3 million in public donations is still needed to ensure cord blood is more accessible to Canadian patients. That’s why Canadian Blood Services is using social media to make supporting this historic health-care initiative more accessible to you.

On June 18, Canadian Blood Services will host #CordAThon on its national social media channels. Call it cord blood ‘Twitter-versity’, where medical experts in umbilical cord blood collection and stem cell transplantation, and many others will answer questions in real-time.

“We hope to bring more understanding about why a national public cord blood bank is an essential part of Canada’s health-care system, and inspire Canadians to play a vital role in helping build the bank by making a financial contribution online,” says For All Canadians Campaign Co Chair Dale Sheard.

And #CordAThon has already piqued the interest of some notable Canadians on social media.

“I tweeted the other day that Canada is the last G7 country to get a national public cord blood bank. It’s surprising. We’re advanced in so many ways, but when it comes to options for stem cell patients, Canada has some catching up to do. Together, we can change that,” says Editor and Publisher at UrbanMommies Media Jill Amery.

“As a mom, the most important thing I can do is make sure my kids are happy and healthy. Supporting this campaign is another way I can look out for my kids, and all our kids, should we be faced with illness,” says Today's Parent blogger and Whining & Dining co-author Emma Waverman. “All Canadians deserve the same chance if they get sick.”

At any given time, there are approximately 1,000 Canadian patients seeking a stem cell match and the demand for stem cell transplants has tripled in just five years. Stem cells are now used to treat more than 80 life-threatening illnesses, including leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia. Cord blood, a rich source of these stem cells, offers new hope of survival for patients, like Nate, who needed a stem cell transplant for Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome.

“When a suitable stem cell match was not found in Canada, the international search began. It was scary knowing we didn’t have a national option available,” says Amy Lupton, mother of four-year-old stem cell recipient Nate Lupton. “Nate’s best option for survival was a perfect stem cell match from a cord blood donor all the way in Australia.”

Amy will share her story and chat live with #CordAThon participants via Twitter on June 18.

Nate’s stem cell transplant was more than three years ago. Today, Canadian Blood Services has started to improve the odds that patients, like Nate, may find their match closer to home. The  national public cord blood bank will consist of two stem cell banking facilities in Ottawa and Edmonton, with collection hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver. This “made in Canada” health-care resource will give patients access to more stem cells when searching for a life-saving match.

Your donation can help build the national public cord blood bank. To make a financial contribution to the For All Canadians campaign, please visit www.blood.ca/campaign today.

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