Canadian Blood Services marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Families thank blood donors for making a life-saving gift

OTTAWA, Aug. 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadian Blood Services encourages Canadians to roll up their sleeves and donate blood this September in honour of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Today, families affected by childhood cancer and childhood cancer survivors visited local blood donor clinics across Canada to share their journey with donors, and thank donors for helping to save lives by giving blood.

Many of these families were connected to Canadian Blood Services through Stephanie Simmons. A childhood cancer survivor herself, Stephanie founded the Gold Ribbon Campaign to educate and rally Canadians around the children and their families who have or are currently battling cancer.

"We are proud to support Canadian Blood Services to help to raise awareness about childhood cancer, as well as the important role blood donations play in cancer treatment. By booking an appointment this September, you can help save a child's life," says Stephanie.

On average it can take up to five blood donors to help one child undergoing cancer treatment. It can take as many as eight donors a week to help a child with leukemia, like 11-year-old Matthew Holmes. Matthew was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2011. Throughout his treatment Matthew needed multiple blood transfusions. He also needed radiation, chemotherapy and three stem cell transplants, including one from a cord blood donor. His last transplant in 2013 has proven to be successful.

"We started donating blood to support Matthew, but we are continuing to do so to help the thousands of children who continue to need blood products every day," says Daril Holmes, Matthew's dad.

Daril along with his family and 15 of his coworkers from the Ontario Provincial Police, rallied together today to donate blood in Ottawa and they are asking other families to do the same during the month of September.

"Let's start off the school year right by helping to save the life of a child affected by cancer. There are over 50,000 open appointments across Canada that we need to fill during the month of September," says Mark Donnison, Canadian Blood Services Vice-President of Donor Relations.

To book an appointment download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca or call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236 6283) today.

Canadians can also help save the lives of childhood cancer patients by donating to the For All Canadians campaign to build a national public cord blood bank. A national public cord blood bank will provide urgently needed stem cells to patients waiting for a match.  To find out more information about the For all Canadians campaign or to make a financial contribution, visit www.blood.ca/campaign.

About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, is establishing Canada's (excluding Quebec) national public cord blood bank and supports leading practices development, professional education and public awareness for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. In addition, Canadian Blood Services purchases manufactured plasma protein products, contributes to transfusion medicine research and provides diagnostic services in some provinces. It operates 41 permanent collection sites and more than 21,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

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SOURCE: Canadian Blood Services

For further information: media@blood.ca ; 1 877 709 7773

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