July 3, 2009 | Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba - When CDI student Chantelle Chornoby, a member of the War Lake First Nations, was hospitalized with leukemia, her fellow students and teachers sprung into action. The Winnipeg campus ran a successful blood drive and stem cell registry awareness campaign, helping Chantelle and the 761 Canadians currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant to find a match.
"We were absolutely thrilled to be a part of CDI College initiatives to encourage staff and students to donate blood and register with the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. This was a prime opportunity to attract first-time donors to save lives two ways: through blood donation and by becoming potential stem cell donors." said Michael Hyduk of Canadian Blood Services.
"Much of the credit goes to Tahl East, Acting Director, whose offer to support Chantelle's Promise and 'help in any way we can' was instrumental in making the event a success. The enthusiasm and support from the staff and students to help Chantelle, as well as other patients who require blood products and stem cells, was positively outstanding. "
At the drive, 70 blood donations were made and 110 people signed up for the OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network, a registry that matches donors with patients in need with a transplant.
"Finding a matching donor for Chantelle, or any person of Aboriginal background, is especially difficult because the OneMatch database consists of less than 1% of Aboriginals. The OneMatch database consists of 83% of Caucasians. More people of Aboriginal and all ethnic backgrounds are needed to develop a database with a broad ethnic representation that reflects the needs of all patients." Hyduk said.
Hyduk says that community events like the CDI blood drive and OneMatch Awareness campaign are important for a number of reasons.
"CDI College consists of a broad ethnic population. At the Awareness Event, 55.5% of new registrants were Caucasian while 45.5% were of other ethnic backgrounds. The college also has a young population base and research has shown that patient survivability is higher with stem cells from younger donors."
Thanks to the generous spirit of the students and staff at CDI, Canadian Blood Services can help a few more patients like Chantelle.
"By support from staff and students at CDI College through "Chantelle's Promise" significant awareness to both blood and stem cell donation has benefited many patients. Canadian Blood Services thanks the many supporters of this event for their blood donations and registering with the OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network and we look forward to future events with the College."