Get Swabbed for Leia!

Wouldn’t it be better if we could help reduce the frequency of hospital visits for just one patient?Hey CD. I am reaching out to you all on behalf of FRC team 4476, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics, because I’m hoping that we can band together <3

In 2014, a friend of our team, Mackenzie, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. W.A.F.F.L.E.S. partnered with a group called OneMatch, now called Stem Cells For Life, which is a branch of Canadian Blood Services which matches those in need of a stem cell transplant with suitable donors. The matches we play on the field are great, but these ones are so much more important.

This year, our robot’s name is Leia, after a four-year-old girl from Toronto who suffers from dyskeratosis congenita, which impairs the bone marrow’s ability to create blood cells. A severe case can lead to leukemia and other serious illnesses later in life. You can read more about her here. 3-year-old Ontario girl in urgent need of rare mixed-ethnicity stem-cell donor | CBC News

Our other robots were Jakob (FTC 2020-21), Tanner (2020-21), Charlie (2019), Melia (2018), Jasnoor (2017), Aaryan (2016), and Kevin (2015).

It is easy to sign up to be a stem cell donor, and it could quite literally save someone’s life. It is often the act of a kind stranger to do so, since a patient only has between a 25% to 30% chance to find a compatible donor in their family. The odds of finding a match are low, about 1 in 40 000. This is even less likely for someone of non-caucasian descent (for example, 66% of the Canadian registry is white) – which has been the case for Jasnoor, Aaryan, Tanner and now Leia. But what if you could be that one? Individuals 17-35 can sign up, which is why I’m posting here since I know that much of the FRC demographic falls in this.

While you’re in the midst of this hectic build season, frantically struggling to build a robot or dealing with critical design issues – take a second, reflect on what you have, and let that empower you to continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Let’s help Leia <3 If you’re interested in learning more or signing up to be a donor (they can even mail you a swab kit you can complete at home!), here’s some resources below or shoot me a PM:

Stem Cells for Life (Canadian specific): Stem cell donation eligibility and registration

Swab the World: Swab The World | Leia's Fight Against Dyskeratosis Congenita

With love,
Taegen & Team 4476

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