‘Swabbing’ for a cause
For many university students, November first marked the beginning of a month of mustaches. This year, it also included “Get Swabbed”, an event to promote student registration in OneMatch, the Canadian Blood Network’s Stem Cell and Marrow Database.
Wilfrid Laurier University students made their contribution by getting “swabbed” throughout the day on Nov. 1 in the Concourse. The Laurier event was spearheaded by the Laurier Save a Life Society (SLS), which was done in partnership with Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Beta Pi, Laurier University Charity Kouncil (L.U.C.K.), and the Laurier Health Sciences Students’ Association.
OneMatch wants to expand their database so people who are in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant have a better chance of receiving one.
SLS’s goal this year, however, was to get more male students in their database.
“Within the next two weeks, we will be part of a competition between 26 different universities across Canada to try and register as many males as possible,” said Heidi Singer, a third-year political science student at WLU, one of the lead co-ordinators for the Get Swabbed event.
“It is as many registrants as possible but specifically we’re targeting males right now because we don’t have enough in the system. But right now the patients that are dying and are in need of a bone marrow transplant are males, and that’s why we’re specifically targeting males,” she added.
This year, the event added 539 swabs to the database, considerably more than the 403 last year.
In its first year the event had less than 20 volunteers, however this year “Get Swabbed” sparked the interest of far more students, garnering support from over 100 volunteers for the day.
These volunteers spent the day giving out information, compiling registration and completing the swabbing process.
The simple process of swabbing the inside of participants’ cheeks and being registered into the OneMatch system could mean saving the life of a person suffering from devastating illnesses such as leukemia and lymphoma.
“The likelihood of being called [for a donation] is really small, but it is the knowledge of having so many people participating and helping is so important, that is what gives hope to those who are sick,” said Jordan Epstein, a third-year kinesiology student and the other co-ordinator for the event.
The “Get Swabbed” table in the Concourse ran all day, from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., extended from its original 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. timeline to allow more students to come out and get registered.