After learning that their mother Gail Stewart was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (a cancer of the blood and bone marrow) in early 2022 the Stewart family rallied Atlantic Canada and beyond to join Canadian Blood Services stem cell registry and donate blood. With the gripping news of their mother’s diagnosis Gail would need a stem cell transplant to save her life, along with countless blood transfusions.
Early on the prognosis was not good as no one in the family was a matching donor. In fact, only 25% of the time a family member will be a match.
During this difficult time Gail’s children, Zac, Leyton, Rhylah and Meryk along with her husband Dave took action to not only find a matching donor but to raise awareness and help others. Through this incredible movement the Stewart family along with many family and friends helped inspire approximately 2500 people between the ages of 17-35 to join Canadian Blood Services stem cell registry, a feat that not only gave hope to Gail but to almost 1000 patients in Canada currently searching for a matching stem cell donor.
Shortly after the launch of #JoinGailsFight a matching donor was found and Gail received a stem cell transplant from an anonymous donor; a selfless stranger who understood that their time and decision to register could save someone’s life.
Today the family is still giving back as Leyton Stewart of the Quebec Remparts announced he is joining Hockey Gives Blood as a Player Ambassador to continue his advocacy in honour of his mom and those still searching for a match.
Welcome to the team Leyton.
To learn more about joining Canadian Blood Services stem cell registry please visit blood.ca/HGB