May, 2016 – In response to a call from the family of one of our long time Local 258 IBEW members, Brother Gary Sawatsky, the union hosted a “Swab Day” in conjunction with Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch program at the union hall in Burnaby on Sunday, April 24th to help build the donor registry and spread the word about the life saving capabilities of stem cell donation.
“When our close family relative was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia a few months ago, we discovered that stem cell donation can help save lives and we knew we had to do something to help increase awareness about how people can register to become a potential donor,” said Gary’s wife Lynn who volunteered at Local 258’s event. “We are very thankful that Gary’s union, Local 258 IBEW, responded and then offered to host a Swab Day event.”
Stem cells can be used to treat some 80 different diseases and disorders, including certain forms of cancer such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma.
Many organizations are helping to spread awareness of stem cell donation by holding a “Swab Day” as a way to build the donor registry and to increase recognition of this life saving opportunity. Registering to be a stem cell donor is a simple and easy procedure that can be completed by meeting the donor criteria and providing a cheek swab that collects cells for analysis to determine a match with a person who is in need of a stem cell transplant. If a registrant is a match, stem cells can then be donated through a blood or bone marrow collection.
Brother Dan Klassen, Assistant Business Manager, organized Local 258’s Swab Day event and said, “We are glad we could do something to help and we are looking forward to doing more to spread awareness about stem cell donation that can help save lives.”
Local 258 Dispatcher Jim McKay, a leukemia survivor himself, also volunteered at the union’s Swab Day and was the master BBQ chef serving up hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken burgers to all participants.
Local 258 IBEW Business Manager Doug McKay said, “We are proud to be able to help in any way we can to any of our members in their time of need and we look forward to helping expand awareness of stem cell donation. You never know when you or someone you know may need this important treatment.”
The union would like to express our appreciation and thanks to the volunteers who made the day a success, and to Stephanie Pedersen from Canadian Blood Services who provided support as well as training for the volunteers who assisted with the registrations.
There are a number of simple and easy ways you can register and provide a cheek swab sample to be a potential stem cell donor. Swab kits are available by mail and at local Canadian Blood Services offices, or you can book an appointment at one of their offices.
If you don’t meet the criteria for stem cell donation, you can support people who have serious blood diseases and other life threatening conditions by donating blood.
For more information, please visit:
Website administered by Canadian Blood Services.
Here you will find detailed information about stem cell donation, how to register and other ways you can help. A list of clinics can be found as well as information about how to get a swab kit by mail so you can register today.
Start the registration process online today: https://www.blood.ca/en/stem-cell/onematch-information-new-registrants