September 28, 2020

IMG_1004BY BRUCE CHESSELL

Today inside Door 4 at Conestoga’s Doon campus five international students will be manning a registration booth for OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network.
Dushyant Puri and four other first-year project management students, Arun Kumar, Dickson Obasuyi, Fidelia Otokhina and Taiwo Yussuff, are all passionate about OneMatch even though they can’t register because they are not Canadian citizens.
The organization matches volunteer donors to patients who require stem cell transplants. Fewer than 30 per cent of patients who need transplants will find a compatible donor within their own family so the organization relies on volunteers to donate.
“According to OneMatch’s rules, as an international student you cannot be a part of the donation process,” Puri said. “I can’t donate because I don’t have an Ontario health card, and I also need to have insurance that will cover everything because the donation process does involve hospitalization.”
But that hasn’t stopped them from getting involved.
“There are a lot of people out there who need stem cells. Really, really need stem cells. Because there are not a lot of cures for a lot of diseases this gives people a ray of hope,” Puri said, who then went on to explain why he and his group want to be a part of OneMatch.
“Our basic idea is awareness. We want people to know what stem cell donation is, because people confuse stem cell donation with stem cell research and what a lot of people don’t know is that cells that are required for research are completely different than the ones that are donated.”
In addition to wanting a big turnout at their booth, Puri said he wants the people he gives a flyer or pamphlet to, to go home, read it and think about it. “Because you are coming into something that is going to affect a lot of lives.”
You can register to donate at the OneMatch booth today inside Door 4 beside the Tim Hortons.