Saturday, February 2, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, 347 Wood Street, New Westminster.
To raise awareness in the South Asian community regarding stem cell donation
IN collaboration with Canadian Blood Services and Khalsa Diwan Society New Westminster, the 3rd Annual Stem Cell Awareness Drive is being held in memory of Avtar Singh, who passed away January 21, 2017, after a very intense battle with cancer.
The focus of this drive is to raise awareness for the need of stem cell donors in the South Asian community. According to Canadian Blood Services, many South Asian individuals are actively searching for a stem cell match at this moment. Without a match, their cancer will not be cured. Only 6% of Canada’s OneMatch registry is made of individuals of South Asian descent. This extremely low percentage of donors can make it nearly impossible for individuals to find a match.
The goal is to recruit healthy, committed volunteers between the ages of 17 and 35 who are willing to be a match for any patient in need. Younger donor stem cells provide better patient outcomes. Male donor stem cells decrease the possibility of post-transplant complication. Half of all stem cell donors chosen to help a Canadian patient are male. Only 28% of the current stem cell registry is ethnically diverse and as a result, ethnically diverse patients may have a harder time finding a match. These are the reasons why there is a greater need for male and ethnically diverse donors.
The OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is responsible for finding and matching volunteer donors to patients who require stem cell transplants. Fewer than 25 percent of patients who need stem cell transplants find a compatible donor in their own family. The rest rely on those who have volunteered to donate stem cells to anyone in need. Because Canadian Blood Services’ OneMatch program belongs to an international network of registries, we can search more than 23 million donors in more than 70 registries in other countries when we need to find a match. Over 80 diseases and disorders can be treated with a stem cell transplant. There are hundreds of patients in Canada waiting for a match, but only 1 in 2 find a match. Patients are more likely to find a matching donor from within their own ethnic group.