A Simple Swab Could Save a Life

Canadian Blood Services to Hold Stem Cell Clinic in Vaughan

It only takes two minutes to potentially save a life. Ward 2 Councillor Tony Carella is encouraging residents to get swabbed at a Canadian Blood Services OneMatch stem cell clinic this month in support of Woodbridge resident Elena Ruggero-Gallucci, who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. The swabbing clinic is an opportunity to educate the public about stem cell donation, to find a bone marrow match for Ruggero-Gallucci and to identify new donors for others in need.

An elementary Catholic school teacher and past recipient of the City of Vaughan Civic Hero Award, Ruggero-Gallucci was diagnosed with leukemia in 2002 and now raises awareness about the bone marrow needs of others. She supports fundraising efforts for the Princess Margaret Hospital, including the Gift of Life Walk that was created in her name. The annual event that takes place at the Kortright Centre for Conservation has attracted hundreds of walkers and raised more than $1 million during the past 12 years.

Individuals between 17 and 35 years who are in good general health and willing to help a patient in need, like Ruggero-Gallucci, are invited to get swabbed at Al Palladini Community Centre on Sunday, Feb. 22 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Males, in particular, are encouraged to attend as they typically have the ideal stem cell profile.

Stem cell transplants are a standard therapy in the treatment of about 80 diseases and disorders, including certain cancers and bone marrow deficiencies. According to OneMatch, 75 per cent of those in need of a stem cell transplant can’t find a match among their family members.

For more information about the OneMatch swabbing clinic, contact Ward 2 Councillor Tony Carella at 905-832-8585, ext. 8386 or tony.carella@vaughan.ca. For more information about Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, visit blood.ca.

Visit the City of Vaughan’s website at vaughan.ca.

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