Cord blood banking has been endorsed by many celebrities over the years, such as actors, athletes, and in some cases writers. Cord blood banking in Canada is still a largely unknown concept compared to other developed countries, but esteemed novelist and poet Margaret Atwood believes Canadian families can increase awareness.
Atwood submitted a personal story to the Globe and Mail advocating the benefits of banking umbilical cord blood. In her story, she describes how she took a CPR class over the summer and learned how emergency personnel respond to medical emergencies across Canada.
Atwood is confident that basic CPR can assist Canadians in need of care until an ambulance arrives on scene. But she remains concerned that patients suffering from blood cancers like leukaemia or lymphoma are less likely to benefit from current medical practices.
Over the years, researchers discovered that stem cell therapy can help improve the lives of patients living with certain types of cancers. Many stem cells are extracted from bone marrow, but in a country as diverse as Canada, bone marrow is not always a feasible option.
Atwood supports cord blood therapy as an alternative that can help improve the odds for patients in need of stem cell transplants. Advocating both family and donor cord blood banking, Atwood encourages Canadians to become self reliant when it comes to banked umbilical cord blood.
For years, hospitals were required to import donated cord blood samples from overseas, which cost the Canadian healthcare system tens of thousands of dollars. But registered family cord blood banks within Canada, as well as the launch of the national cord blood donor program by Canadian Blood Services last fall have helped reduce that cost to healthcare.
However, Atwood encourages more Canadian families to learn more about cord blood to expand cord blood banking programs within Canadian borders. She believes that as more samples of cord blood are collected, programs will become more accessible, more affordable, and eventually more beneficial to Canada’s very diverse population.
Atwood is one of Canada’s most passionate advocates to improve the lives of citizens everywhere. Her story describing her family’s early life in Canada is the root of her social platforms, and she proudly supports causes from many walks of life.