Canadian Blood Services is launching its first fundraising campaign to support building a new national public umbilical cord blood bank. When the bank is fully implemented, mothers giving birth in select hospitals across the country will have the opportunity to donate their baby’s umbilical cords and possibly help give new hope for life to someone else.

In March 2011, provincial and territorial health ministers (except Quebec) approved Canadian Blood Services’ plan to establish and operate a national public cord blood bank. Of the estimated $48 million cost, Canadian Blood Services hopes to raise $12.5 million by 2014, with the remaining operational costs being funded by the provinces and territories.

“Canada is the only G8 country that does not have a national public cord blood bank,” says Steve Harding, Canadian Blood Services’ Executive Director of Fundraising and Development. “By raising these funds, the cord blood bank will be accessible to all Canadians, young and old, and provide them and their families with another chance at life.”

Entitled For All Canadians, the major gifts campaign will engage communities across the country to help meet the $12.5 million goal. Currently in the strategic phase of the campaign, Canadian Blood Services has been engaging its existing partners and supporters in conversations about the project. The results have been positive, with a number of pledges and gifts received.

Blood from a baby’s umbilical cord is rich in stem cells that help cure diseases, such as leukemia, lymphoma, aplastic anemia and other blood disorders. These stem cells can give renewed life to many patients in need of a transplant; however, umbilical cords are currently discarded after childbirth. The target for the new cord blood bank is to obtain 20,000 cord blood donations over eight years, with donations reflecting Canada’s ethnic diversity.

For more information about the campaign For All Canadians or to make a financial donation, visit