Stu­dents em­pow­ered to save lives

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail $132,000 mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Stu­dents at DVSS are be­ing given a chance to show the have the power to give life.

Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices is hold­ing a What’s Your Type and Get Swabbed event on Mon­day, May 30. This is a chance for stu­dents to find out their blood type to save a life and reg­is­ter for the one Match Reg­istry to help chance of leukemia pa­tients.

Prin­ci­pal Cur­tis LaPierre ex­plained while this year Mr. Ras­mussen’s Bi­ol­ogy 20 class sparked the in­ter­est in bring­ing the Red Cross to the school, DVSS has a proud his­tory of sup­port­ing the Red Cross. In par­tic­u­lar, the One Match Pro­gram.

He ex­plains, about six years ago the school ral­lied around teacher Shan­non Dart, who owes her life to stem cell treat­ments, to sup­port the One Match pro­gram. The re­sult was as­tound­ing.

“We had 411 Drumheller res­i­dents sign up,” said LaPierre. He ex­plains that the man who then ran the pro­gram, spent the en­tire day in Down­town Ed­mon­ton and only signed up five reg­is­tra­tions.

He came here and spent three hours and sign up 411. We were told we were the per capita cap­i­tal of North Amer­ica for stem cell reg­is­tra­tions,” said LaPierre. Dart has learned first hand on how stem cell treat­ment can change a life.

Dart has been bat­tling can­cer since 2004 and re­ceived a stem cell trans­plant in 2007.

“It saves your life, it put me into re­mis­sion for two and half years,” she said.

Cur­rently she is re­ceiv­ing daily chemo­ther­apy, how­ever if it be­gins to not be as ef­fec­tive, she may need an­other trans­plant. How­ever, de­vel­op­ments are be­ing made.

Much has changed since 2010, it was 17-50, but now it is 17-34. They will take any­body in that age group, but they are re­ally look­ing for males and cul­tur­ally di­verse back­grounds.”

“I just learned there are three new plasma ther­a­pies avail­able now that I can try out. A year and half ago when I was re­ally ill, these weren’t avail­able… so hope­fully I won’t need one for a while.” The re­search has be­come more pre­cise. “This year they want to fo­cus on ages 17- 35 years of age, that is where they get the great­est suc­cess,” said LaPierre.

Dart ex­plains, “Much has changed since 2010, it was 17-50, but now it is 17-34. They will take any­body in that age group, but they are re­ally look­ing for males and cul­tur­ally di­verse back­grounds,” said Dart.

“I am happy they are com­ing here again to do this, and I am so ex­cited they are pro­mot­ing it in high schools,” said Dart, adding the next day they are head­ing to a high school in Olds to con­tinue the pro­gram.

The event is slated for Mon­day, May 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at DVSS. Res­i­dents are wel­come to come and reg­is­ter. For more in­for­ma­tion go to www.blood.ca

Teacher Shan­non Dart and DVSS prin­ci­pal Cur­tis LaPierre are invit­ing the com­mu­nity to a What’s Your Type and Get Swabbed event at DVSS on Mon­day, May 30.

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