Have you ever considered how many opportunities you have to save a life? No, really. Think about how many chances you have to give a family something to be hopeful about, at a time when there isn’t a lot of hope left. Think about the afternoon or two it would take out of your life, to offer someone the chance to live the rest of their life.

This past Friday, QLCS partnered with the Queen’s U Blood Team for a OneMatch Stem Cell Registration Event right here in the QL lounge. They were around for 3 hours informing students about the donor registration process and helping register people for stem cell donation.

I had never considered stem cell donation. Frankly, needles freak me out. Just the thought of needles freaks me out. But somehow I got caught up in a conversation about what it really meant to register to donate stem cells, and how hard it is for doctors to find donors for patients. I realised that I was so caught up in how inconvenient it would be for me to donate (given the aforementioned squeamishness over needles) and I hadn’t even thought of what it would mean for a patient who desperately needed a stem cell transplant. These are patients who have not only been diagnosed with any of a variety of blood-related diseases or disorders, but who have likely been waiting for a match for a very long time. It’s their best chance, and sometimes their only chance at beating their illness and returning to normal life. And the chances that I would get a call to donate are so slim because it’s THAT hard to match registered donors with patients.

So, after a conversation with the lovely folks from the Queen’s U Blood Team about the risks and benefits of stem cell donation, I found myself sitting in the lounge rubbing cotton swabs against the inside of my cheek. I’m still kind of nervous that I might get a call, because the thought of getting poked and prodded with needles still makes me cringe. I know now though that not only is it unlikely that I’ll be lucky enough to be a match for someone, but if I do get a call that’s an amazing thing. I’ll be able to help save someone’s life, and that is so much bigger than my own inconvenience.

OneMatch is always registering potential donors, so if you want to join me on the donor registry, you can find more information at https://blood.ca/en/stem-cell/onematch-information-new-registrants. They’re always looking for men in particular, so guys, read up and really consider registering.

If you don’t want to wait to get a call from OneMatch to help someone in need, QLCS is also participating in a Canadian Blood Services Blood Drive this week. Wednesday (Nov. 30) from 2:30-4:30 we’ll be going to the clinic to donate blood. You can get more info at https://blood.ca/en/donate, and then email Steph at 14smem1@queensu.ca to let her know you want to come with us. There’s still a few spots left, so get on it soon if you’re interested, and I’ll see you there!

Written by Stephanie Browning

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