By Mikayla Fasullo
On Nov. 26 the women’s volleyball team paired up with One Match and Canadian Blood Services to encourage students to save some lives.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is an organization that collects, tests and manufactures blood, stem cells and bone marrow from people ages 17-35 used for research, transplants and donations. Erica Naccarato fourth year psychology student and Ram volleyball player became an advocate donor when she was a teenager and continues to contribute to CBS. “I started donating blood because was terrified of needles.” said Naccarato. “My mom said ‘why don’t you donate blood to try and get over your fear of needles so you’re also doing a good thing’?”
Naccarato organized blood drives at Ryerson in previous years at the Mattemy Athletic Centre (MAC) basketball court and the alumni lounge. “When I first started doing the blood drive a couple years ago it was mostly geared towards athletes, because that was the community I was in,” said Naccarato.
This year she brought her teammates and other members from Ryerson athletics to the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM) where they encouraged not just members from Ryerson athletics, but everybody on how they could change somebody’s life. “While were given this amazing facility, trainers, coaches, and so much to be able to compete in our sport,” said Naccarato, “it could be your duty to give back in that certain way so i used that as an incentive.”
Earlier in the year, Dr. Winnie Ng, chair in social justice and democracy at Ryerson found out news of a friends daughter, Melissa Seow had been diagnosed with acute leukaemia in August 2015. “It hurts more when it’s happening to a young person, it’s the prime of their lives”.
Ng collaborated with Naccarato and put a face to the campaign. “Giving her [Seow’s] face is the motive to find her a match.” said Naccarato who also explained how difficult it can be to find a match for someone.
In Canada there are over 1,000 people in need of a stem cell transplant and the number is growing. “Maybe all the campaign stuff we’re doing might not help Melissa,” said Ng. “But you never know that maybe 10 years down the road, someone somewhere else in the world is the right match and I think this is where the significance is.”
Naccarato and her volunteers signed up 55 people who were interested in donating blood or stem cells and they plan to set up again in January.