Hoping For A Mob To Swab

swabbing clinic

This Thursday – January 24th – open wide, say “Aaaaaah”, and scrape a cell or two from the inside of your mouth/cheek with a Q-tip.

Doing so could make you a life-saver.

From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day, in the “old” Student Centre (lounge area near the entrance to the main computer lab), the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association will jointly stage the college’s annual “Swab Day”.

“Domestic” students – and staff – aged 17 to 35* are invited to drop by, hear the volunteer staffers explain the purpose and process, and then swab the inside of their mouths to provide some cell samples.

After being registered in the national medical data-base, those samples – eventually – could lead to “swabbers” being identified as potential life-saving donors of bone marrow or stem cells for individuals living with an assortment of diseases.

[* Bone marrow and stem cells are healthiest, and more viable for transplantation, under the age of 35 – so, sorry, older folks are not eligible for swabbing. Also, international students can’t be accommodated at the clinic, unless they’ve lived in Ontario long enough to have obtained an OHIP card.]

St. Clair has been participating in the swabbing clinic for approximately a decade, and almost annually sets local records for the number of registrants who turn out for such events. A few years ago, more St. Clairians turned out for the one-day clinic than for all of the other swab days staged in the city during the preceding year.

Since the inception of the college-based clinic, the SRC has partnered with the Katelyn Bedard Bone Marrow Association in this cause.

That organization was founded in July 2005 by Bryan and Joanne Bedard of Windsor – parents who were inspired to start this association after losing their daughter, Katelyn, to leukemia at the age of three when she was not able to find a bone marrow donor.

Now international in scope, the Association:

• raises awareness about the desperate need for bone marrow donors, and encourages people to join the bone marrow registry;

• provides financial support to patients undergoing a bone marrow transplant through its Family Support Program; and

• sponsor bone marrow transplant related research in hopes of finding better alternatives for patients faced with a bone marrow transplant.

For more information about the Association – and the entire process – see its website at http://www.givemarrow.net/.

To attract swabbers, the SRC has arranged for two raffle prizes for clinic participants. A couple of inner-mouth skin-cells will provide the chance to win a “Red Dead Redemption” video game, or a Cineplex movie theatre gift package – each valued at about $100.