The primary activity for STEM in its first five years was on advocacy as STEM tried to support a fragile BMT Program with limited resources. Despite improvements to the stability of the program and the new interim 6-bed stem cell transplant unit at Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, much advocacy work still needs to be done. Saskatchewan is in urgent need of an accredited stem cell transplant centre which can provide:
- Rapid access to specialists in blood and immune system cancers and related conditions.
- Improved access to treatment, and reduce money spent on health care in other provinces and/or the USA.
- Treatment in our own home province where family and friends can more readily provide support.
- A reduction in the personal non-medical costs associated with travel and relocation of patients to medical centres outside the province or country.
- Our residents with access to state-of-the-art knowledge and opportunities to participate in clinical trials and other research by being part of the network of Canadian Transplant Centres.
- A centre that not only carries out stem cell transplants, but provides diagnostic expertise plus pre- and post-transplant care within our province.
- A centre that meets emerging Health Canada regulations and international accreditation standards.
There are many ways you can assist STEM with its advocacy work
- Write to your MLA and ask to meet with them so you can tell them your story and give them an understanding of the importance of stem cell transplants.
- Contact the Minister of Health and ask why Saskatchewan has to continue to send people out of province because of a lack of capacity to meet our needs.
- Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper.
- Learn more about what national and provincial advocacy groups are doing.
- Share your story with others (e.g. service clubs, local newsaper) and the important role played by the Provincial BMT Program in giving you a second chance at life.
- Put your name forward to join the STEM Board of Directors.