Kilimanjaro Climbers Hope to ‘Move Mountains’ for Stem Cell Patients
Blood system CEO leads 25 climbers to raise funds for Canada’s first
national public cord blood bank
OTTAWA, Aug. 1, 2013 /CNW/ – On August 6, Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of
Canadian Blood Services will be part of a team of 25 devoted climbers
sharing one single vision–to help fund Canada’s first national public
cord blood bank. Umbilical cords are a rich source of stem cells and in
Canada they are largely discarded after child birth. By collecting and
storing umbilical cord blood in an accredited national public bank, the
lives of more Canadian patients can be saved and the suffering of many
families can be reduced.
In January, Canadian Blood Services launched the $12.5 million For All Canadians fundraising campaign to build a national public cord blood bank.
Individuals and corporations across Canada are responding to this
urgent health care need to meet the increasing demand for stem cells.
By offering their financial support, they are helping Canadian Blood
Services and governments build the first national public cord blood
bank for all Canadians.
For the nearly 1,000 Canadians waiting for a stem cell match, each day
is an uphill struggle that takes unrelenting courage and strength to
endure. “We may be climbing Africa’s highest peak, but the challenges
we’ll encounter are nothing compared to what patients face daily when
they are waiting for stem cell transplants to fight life threatening
conditions like leukemia or lymphoma,” says Sher. “Our team of climbers
understands the courage and strength needed for Kilimanjaro is
insignificant compared to what these patients endure every day.”
Japreet is a 10 year old girl who was diagnosed with Hemophagocytic
Lympho Histiocytosis (HLH) in May 2013. She currently needs a stem cell
transplant to save her life. “Japreet is a vibrant child who enjoys
spending time with her family,” says Simran Grewal, Japreet’s cousin.
“Now her days are spent in the Hospital for Sick Children waiting and
hoping a stem cell match is found.”
A national public cord blood bank is especially important for Canadian
patients because of our country’s ethnically diverse population.
Canada’s ethnic population is under-represented on Canadian Blood
Services’ OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. There is a pressing
need for these patients to have better access to stem cell treatments.
“Canadians can help Japreet and other patients like her by donating
generously,” urges Sher. Canadians can follow this important journey at
#climb4cord. “Ascending to new heights regarding stem cell banking is
why we are here. Providing better chances for all patients such as
Japreet, is why we came.”
About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable
organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all
provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services
also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides
national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
Canadian Blood Services operates 42 permanent collection sites and more
than 20,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial
Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood
Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible
for regulating the blood system.
Satellite Tracking of Climbers: http://campaignforcanadians.ca/climb-4-cord/
Web: (Campaign): http://www.blood.ca/campaign
Follow us on Twitter at @itsinyoutogive or join the discussion #climb4cord
SOURCE CANADIAN BLOOD SERVICES
Image with caption: “The Canadian Blood Services flag of signatures, a flag that travelled across the country and visited a majority of Canadian Blood Services’ main locations, was presented to the climbers and will next be seen at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. (CNW Group/CANADIAN BLOOD SERVICES)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130801_C2572_PHOTO_EN_29424.jpg