OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network

When Canadian Blood Services employees Michelle Alfieri and Nathaly Larter learned they were expecting, both women made the decision to donate their babies’ cord blood to Canadian Blood Services’ Cord Blood Bank.

Michelle, director of program management in the donor relations division, is responsible for implementing a new program aimed at changing how Canadian Blood Services attracts and interacts with supporters of the blood system. She understands the importance of recruiting Canadians in a variety of ways and of helping engage donors, volunteers and partners in a manner that is simple, meaningful and personal.

After struggling with fertility issues following the birth of her first child, Michelle and her husband knew that if they were to have a second child, they would want to donate the baby’s cord blood.

“We went through a lot after the birth of our son, Alex, and when we became pregnant again we felt so much joy and hope that we knew giving someone else that kind of hope would mean the world to them,” said Michelle.

She learned about donating her baby’s cord blood by working at Canadian Blood Services, and by talking to her doctor.

“I would definitely encourage others who are expecting and who plan to have their baby at one of the collection sites to talk to their physician or midwife. Mine was very well prepared to have that discussion,” said Michelle.

Digital communications specialist Nathaly Larter works in the public affairs division where she develops web strategies, updates the organization’s website and provides graphic design services.

She joined Canadian Blood Services in October 2014 and while she understood the concept of cord blood collection, she didn’t know it was possible to donate her baby’s cord to a national public cord blood bank. Having moved to Ottawa from Toronto, her knowledge of cord blood banking was that it was service you paid for.

“One of the first projects I worked on when I started here was the development of an educational cord blood video,” said Nathaly. After working on the video (Available on Youtube) and learning what cord blood is used
for and how lives could be saved, Nathaly felt her decision was an easy one.

“My hope is that it will help save someone’s life. Another benefit is that our donation could also be used for research purposes if it doesn’t meet the requirements for banking or doesn’t match a patient in need. That’s better than it going to medical waste as it’s still helping to save lives in the end.”

Baby Update!

Both Michelle and Nathaly gave birth to healthy baby boys. Michelle gave birth to James in November and Nathaly gave birth to Knox in January.