Its official: Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank, a national, public health-care resource has been launched. Expectant mothers who give birth at one of our partnering hospitals are helping to build an ethnically diverse stem cell bank in Canada by donating their baby’s cord blood.
Left to right: CEO Dr. Graham Sher, For All Canadians co-chair Dale Sheard, Board of Directors chair Leah Hollins, and For All Canadians co-chair David Lehberg unveil the donor wall at Head Office.
Five hospitals in four cities – Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver – have partnered with us to build this program. “This is a significant achievement for the Canadian health-care system,” said Dr. Graham Sher, Canadian Blood Services chief executive officer. “Through our hospital partners, we are able to provide expectant mothers the opportunity to donate to a national public cord blood bank; increasing the chances for patients who need a stem cell transplant to find a match.”
Our Cord Blood Bank is good news for the nearly 1,000 Canadians who, on any given day, are searching for a stem cell donor. Many of these patients are from ethnically diverse backgrounds, and this new resource will help increase their opportunities of finding a stem cell match, as well as contribute to the international database for patients around the world. Approximately 25 per cent of people requiring a stem cell transplant are able to find a match within their own family – the other 75 per cent must look outside their families for an unrelated donor. Even with access to over 635,000 publicly-banked cord blood units and over 25.5 million adult donors, unfortunately, half of the patients in Canada requiring a stem cell donor are without a match.
Our official launch and celebration happened June 25 in Ottawa where we unveiled our donor wall, but the festivities will continue until mid-July as we honour the hard work and generosity of everyone who helped to make this a reality. Many people contributed their time and talent to ensure our success. Our first fundraising campaign, For All Canadians, was led by Dale Sheard and David Lehberg and through the generosity of individuals and corporations across Canada; over $12.5 million dollars was raised.