Stem cell swab event held at Surrey Sikh Temple, encourages members of South Asian community to become donors

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Courtesy of Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara-Facebook

A stem cell drive is being held in Surrey today to encourage members of the South Asian community to consider being a donor.

“Only 6 percent of Canada’s adult stem cell registry includes registrants of South Asian descent”

Sarah Jasmins, Territory Manager for Canadian Blood Services says only 6 percent of Canada’s adult stem cell registry include those of South Asian descent.

That’s even though there are currently 37 South Asian patients in Canada searching for a stem cell match.

“Currently there are 37 South Asian patients in Canada searching for stem cell matches, but only 6 percent of Canada’s adult stem cell registry includes registrants of South Asian descent.”

“Patients are more likely to find a donor from their own ancestral group”

Jasmins adds the majority of patients will match with strangers, but the best chances of matching occur when patients and donors are from the same ancestral group.

“Hundreds of Canadians require a donor for a stem cell transplant every year and more than 75 percent of them will rely on someone they don’t know to save their lives. Patients are more likely to find a donor from their own ancestral group. This Saturday we are encouraging healthy 17 to 35-year-old males of South Asian descent to come in and get swabbed and join our OneMatch registry.”

How to become a donor

She outlined the steps in registering to become a donor.

“In order to register they do have to be between the ages of 17 to 35, be in general good health and willing to help all Canadian patients. The process of registration is very simple, it takes about ten minutes. We’d make sure they understand what it is they are registering for, what happens if they’re called to be a donor. They would fill out a health questionnaire, we’d do a swab of their cheeks, they’re put on the registry and they stay on a registry up until their 60th birthday.”

For those who aren’t able to become stem cell donors, there is always the option to donate blood.

The event is being held at the Guru Nanak Sikh temple, which is located at 7050 120 Street in Surrey from 9 am to 6 pm.