Sun Life Financial donates $100,000 to help build Canada's first national public umbilical cord blood bank

TORONTO, July 30, 2013 /CNW/ - Sun Life Financial is proud to be a part of a ground breaking initiative that will help save the lives of nearly 1,000 Canadians who are waiting for an unrelated stem cell match. Sun Life Financial has donated $100,000 to the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to support the "For All Canadians" campaign to build Canada's first national public umbilical cord blood bank. Umbilical cord blood, which is currently discarded after childbirth, is a rich source of stem cells that can provide a second chance at life for patients waiting for their match.

The number of Canadian patients waiting for life-saving stem cell transplants continues to grow over the years. These patients are suffering from diseases like leukemia, lymphoma or aplastic anemia and require stem cell transplants to survive.

"Sun Life is proud to support the Canadian Blood Services and its mission to establish the first blood bank of its kind in Canada," says Kevin Dougherty, President, Sun Life Financial Canada. "We recognize the importance of this campaign and its potential to save the lives of so many Canadians."

Canada is the only G8 country that does not have a national public umbilical cord blood bank. Even though the Canadian health system can access international stem cell registries, the CBS states it's vital that Canada can collect and store its own selected umbilical cord blood in a national public bank, especially for those patients who have an even greater difficulty finding a match such as Aboriginal Canadians.

"Canada's ethnic and Aboriginal populations are under-represented on the adult stem cell registry - OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network," says Dr. David Allan, Clinical Hematologist with Canadian Blood Services and The Ottawa Hospital. "There is a pressing need for these patients to have better access to stem cell treatments. The generosity shown by Sun Life Financial will help ensure the creation of the national public umbilical cord blood bank and thereby increase the patient's chances of finding their match."

Sun Life's donation has contributed to having the first national public umbilical cord blood bank open its doors in Ottawa this fall 2013.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of March 31, 2013, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $571 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars.

SOURCE: Sun Life Financial Inc. - Financial News

For further information:

For media inquiries, please contact:

Alessandra Nigro
Sun Life Financial
416-979-4884
alessandra.nigro@sunlife.com


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