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May 13, 2010
Toronto paramedics saving lives in a different way - the first EMS Stem Cell Challenge
A total of 765 Canadians currently need a stem cell or bone marrow transplant in order to survive life-threatening illnesses such as leukemia.

Fewer than 30 per cent of these patients will find a compatible stem cell donor from a family member, leaving 70 per cent of patients to rely on the generosity of a total stranger for the gift of life. That is why hundreds of paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers (EMDs) and other EMS staff across Canada, including City of Toronto EMS, have joined the first National EMS Stem Cell Challenge.

The objective across the country is to add people between the ages of 17 and 50 to the potential donor list.

The Toronto EMS challenge event is taking place during EMS Week (May 17 to 21), with an information and registration day held in partnership with Shari’s Mission and the One Match Stem Cell and Marrow Network at the EMS Week launch event on May 17.

Date: Monday, May 17

Time: Noon (The EMS Stem Cell Challenge will be introduced as part of the EMS Week launch on the square at 12 noon; registration for potential donors will be open all day from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Location: Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto

Media are invited to interview volunteers from Shari’s Mission, who will staff a registration booth on the square.

The National EMS Stem Cell Challenge is a Shari’s Mission initiative that was started by a Toronto paramedic whose sister was diagnosed last summer with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After intensive chemotherapy, Shari’s last chance was a stem cell, or marrow transplant. After months of searching a match was finally found and Shari received her gift of life in March.

More information about Shari’s Mission and the One Match Stem Cell and Marrow Network can be found via these links: and

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents. For information about non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can dial 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Media contact:
Kim McKinnon, Coordinator Public Information and Media, Toronto EMS,, 416-392-2255.



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