Canada launched the national cord blood donor program at the end of September, which is managed by the Canadian Blood Services. As part of the program, CBS created the For All Canadians fundraising campaign to help reach its $12.5 million goal necessary to effectively manage the cord blood program.
As part of the campaign, fundraising committees are popping up in major cities across the country. Families with stem cell transplant experience are taking leadership roles on these committees, such as Donna Gudbranson, who is co-chairing the committee in Ottawa.
Donna joined up with the Ottawa committee shortly after the cord blood donor program began at the Ottawa Hospital earlier this year.
“Having a National Public Cord Blood Bank in our own backyard, in this amazing community, is such a gift.”
Donna’s son Dennis was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia when he was six years old back in 2004. After chemotherapy failed to provide effective long-term therapy, doctors recommended a stem cell transplant, which was made possible through a bone marrow donor from Newfoundland.
Donna also learned about cord blood stem cell transplants, and realized that people like Dennis could potentially benefit even more from cord blood than bone marrow. According to Donna, mothers have responded enthusiastically to the cord blood donor program.
Donna’s work with the committee introduced her to more facts through the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. The Network database says nearly 1,000 Canadians are in need of an unrelated stem cell donation, and donated cord blood samples are one of the best options available to complete these necessary transplants.