A simple swab could save a life

As much as we’re accused (often correctly) of spreading doom and gloom through so-called “bad news” stories, in this business, we regularly hear from — or, more often, about — people who are trying to make a positive difference in the world.

The stories we like best are the ones about people who go above and beyond, even when there’s nothing in it for them personally.

There is one such story in today’s paper.

It involves a woman who is trying to boost the number of young people registered with Canadian Blood Services as potential stem cell donors.

Marie Grim’s sister-in-law, Tania, was diagnosed with leukemia in January. She underwent both chemotherapy and radiation, but Tania had to wait several months before a suitable donor was found to help her replace the bone marrow and abnormal white blood cells destroyed during the course of her treatment.

Once her sister’s match was found — and, thankfully, it was — it would have been simple enough for Marie to express her gratitude to the donor — and to the system that helped create the match — then move on.

Instead, she has decided to do what she can to help improve the odds for others by holding a stem cell drive.

At her event, tentatively set for Sept. 8 in Langley, she hopes to round up 100 people between the ages of 17 and 35 who will consent — to begin with — to a simple cheek swab.

“There’s no pain, no fuss,” she says.

And for a few seconds’ effort, you may be setting yourself up to help save a life.

For many, that simple swab may well be the end of it.

But if they’re found to be a match to someone in need of stem cells, they will be contacted and asked to make a donation.

According to CBS, stem cells can be used to treat up to 80 different diseases and disorders.

But while the list of potential recipients includes literally every person in Canada, the pool of possible donors is much smaller, including only those in a narrow, 19-year, age range.

Add to that, a particular demand for non-Caucasian donors, to help improve the odds for people with indigenous, Asian or African heritage, and it becomes even more urgent that people between 17 and 35 years old take the initiative to get swabbed and put themselves on the registry.

At this point only about half the of the hundreds of Canadians on the waiting list will find a stem cell match.

Adding another 100 names to the list of potential donors can only help improve those odds.

Just Posted

Promoting Langley City: new agency launches

Discover Langley City created in wake of split with Township

‘Hearties’ descend on Langley

Fans of TV show ‘When Calls the Heart’ have gathered in Langley for the Hearties Family Reunion

Surrey School District refuses to rent Bell Centre for Parents United Canada rally

Group is seeking court injunction to stop an LGBTQ program in public schools

Former U.S. Olympian urges audience at TWU to stay true to themselves

‘I made the decision to lie,’ says Marion Jones

Motocross kid takes torch from dad

The name ‘Charlton’ is synonymous with dirt bike racing

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Holy Heritage Rail Batman: Superheros come to Cloverdale historic train

The Fraser Valley Heritage Rail is hosting its third annual Halloween rail adventure Oct 28, 29

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Dorsett has 2 goals, assist in Canucks’ 4-2 win over Sabres

‘It was a real good hockey game by our group,’ Canucks coach Travis Green said.

Berry disappointed: Bear tries to eat fake fruit on woman’s door wreath

A Winnipeg woman has taken her berry-embellished wreath down, after a hungry bear visited her porch

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

Most Read