Many patients with blood diseases require a stem cell or bone marrow transplant as part of their treatment, and they need a donor who is a genetic match for a transplant. Canadians aged 17-35 can register as potential stem cell donors at stem cell drives, where they swab their cheeks to provide a tissue sample. Patients are more likely to match to a donor in their own ethnic group, and there is currently a special need for Canadian Aboriginal donors, as this demographic is underrepresented on Canada’s stem cell donor database. At the University of British Columbia, third–year medical students are required to complete an elective in a rural community in British Columbia or in the territories of Canada. This presents an ideal opportunity to engage rural Canadians, including Canadian Aboriginals, to participate in the stem cell donor database. This dispatch outlines a pilot rural stem cell drive, and discusses general strategies for the implementation of rural stem cell drives
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Fingrut W. Top of the World Stem Cell Drive: A Case Study in Rural Stem Cell Donor Recruitment. UBCMJ. 2014; 6(1):41-43.