By: Alon Coret 

You may have recently heard about the urgent call for blood donations made by Canadian Blood Services (CBS). Well, just so you know, it’s not only blood donations per se that are required by CBS – they are also hoping to add potential matches to their bone marrow and stem cell network. This sub-group within CBS is appropriately known as “One Match,” and it seeks to establish a worldwide database – in partnership with over fifty other national networks – in hopes of increasing the number of potential matches for life-saving stem cell donations and bone marrow transplants.

Just as with blood donations, it is often not a lack of willingness to donate that stops people from signing up; rather, it’s the burden involved in actually making the time for it. And I get it – we are all busy university students. So, to save you the time…the signup has already been arranged for you!

On Oct. 28 (10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.), an event known as “Get Swabbed” will take place in the MUSC Marketplace. Volunteers from both McMaster and CBS will help sign up interested students, and provide further information about eligibility requirements and the overall process of donations. All that’s needed from you is: (1) informed consent to participate (yes, you will be provided with all necessary information), and (2) a quick, five-minute swab to collect cheek tissue samples. Your information would then be recorded in the One Match database. If a patient is found to be compatible with you, One Match will call you up to see whether you would be interested in making a donation (at which point, by the way, you are NOT obligated to proceed should you wish to withdraw consent).

Who is needed? Anyone and everyone could be a match, but 17-35-year-old males are especially needed.  Moreover, if you belong to an ethnic minority, there is a good chance One Match is underrepresented by your demographic (and possibly unique genetic markers). Therefore, you are extra encouraged to register in the database.

Why the need for such a large database? Stem cell transplants require a high genetic profile match between donor and recipient, specifically the compatibility of 12 genetic markers known as human leukocyte antigens, or HLA. As a result, one would expect high suitability among family members. Nonetheless, fewer than 30 percent of patients who need stem cell transplants find a compatible donor within their own family, and thus rely on donations from others.

Who needs stem cell transplants? A variety of diseases and disorders are treated with stem cell transplants, including blood-related diseases such as leukemia, aplastic anemia, and inherited immune system and metabolic disorders (e.g. Tay Sachs disease). These conditions are often fatal, and so early detection, successful treatments, and a compatible stem cell or bone marrow transplant are crucial to save the patient’s life.

What’s the actual “donation” procedure like? Stem cell transplant procedures tend to have the reputation of being painful, dangerous, or overly complicated. This is not quite so. Today there are two common methods in use, both involving very minimal risk to the donor.

The first is called “Stimulated peripheral blood stem cell donation,” a non-surgical procedure involving the collection of stem cells over a period of four to five days. Yes, it involves needles (but only a couple). And yes, there are some short-term side effects, including nausea, muscle pain, and redness at the site of injection.

Another method in use is a bone marrow stem cell donation, which is a surgical procedure performed under anesthetics. Special, hollow needles are used to withdraw liquid marrow (~ 1 liter) from the back of the donor’s pelvic bones. This procedure typically lasts about an hour. Although it sounds like a lot to give, both the blood and stem cells from the marrow are naturally replenished within six weeks.

The key take-home messages regarding these procedures are: (1) they are very safe for the donor; and (2) by virtue of being a match, you are by no means obligated to donate and can withdraw from One Match at any time. By registering, however, you put yourself in a sort of lottery where you have the chance to give somebody the best prize of all: their health, their smile, and their life.

I hope to see you there as part of this important initiative!

For more information please visit:

Palika Kholi and Katie Ferguson
Student Health Education Centre

Every year Canadian Blood Services comes to McMaster University to set up mobile blood donor clinics. And if you heard the buzz last week, they're back!

Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services operates more than 20,000 donor clinics annually, including clinics on campus at the McMaster University Student Centre (3rd Floor, CIBC Hall) and Ewart Angus Centre. At these clinics, units of "whole blood" are collected, which consist of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma. One unit of blood is approximately half a litre (or one pint). Transfusions to patients in need sometimes consist of whole blood (with the white blood cells removed) and other times the blood is centrifuged and separated into its different components.

Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood and it is students like YOU who can make the difference and save lives.

If you’re interested in donating, visit www.blood.ca where you can view basic eligibility requirements. After you’ve checked your eligibility, you can book your appointment at the Student Health Education Centre (SHEC: MUSC Room 202), online (https://donatenow.blood.ca) or by calling 1-888-2-DONATE.

In 2010, to demonstrate support of blood donation and to help recruit students to become new donors, the McMaster Students Union (MSU) joined the Canadian Blood Services Partners for Life program and exceeded the donation pledge of 450 units of blood! The MSU continues to strive to encourage new and repeat donors and has pledged 1,500 units to be donated by the end of 2013.

To ensure your donations count towards the MSU pledge, register as a member of the McMaster Students Union:

  1. Go to www.blood.ca/partnersforlife.
  2. Click on “Join Partners for Life” then click on “Member”.
  3. Click on “Sign me up to donate with my team!”
  4. Fill out the secure form and click “Submit”.

Your Partner ID is MCMA011297.

See below for a list of upcoming clinics dates in CIBC Hall, on the third floor of MUSC. Bring a friend to donate and your two units of blood can help treat one patient for internal bleeding!

Thursday, Sept. 26 from 11 AM - 5 PM

Tuesday, Oct. 8th from 11 AM - 5 PM

Thursday, Oct. 24th from 11 AM - 5 PM

Tuesday, Nov. 5th from 11 AM - 5 PM

Thursday, Nov. 21st from 11 AM - 5 PM

 

Donate with your friends, classmates, residence floor or club! To book your group appointment, contact katie.ferguson@blood.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hobo With a Shotgun
Directed by: Jason Eisener
Starring: Rutger Hauer, Brian Downey

3 out of 5

Myles Herod
Entertainment Editor

If you are going to make a horror film, go for broke. Indulge in its foreboding dread, accentuated shadows, excessive gore, and immoral integrity. Just don’t cop out. While it is frustrating to see a film cheat its intended audience, there is nothing worse than it ruining an entire genre.

Horror films of the Northern American mold have suffered greatly. Neutered, branded, and left sanitized by the PG 13 rating, an ever-growing conservatism has sought to make these pictures tamer and more profitable to the masses.

Like watching nostalgia played through a dusty VCR, Hobo With a Shotgun arrives seemingly out of the sewers from a parallel 1980s universe.

Delivering a psychotic fervor, it is comparable to the low-budget, grindhouse pictures it obviously pays homage to. But Hobo With a Shotgun does it better, hell-bent on offending anyone and everyone. Depraved visions of exaggerated gore, mass murder and human entrails wash the screen like an abstract painter to their canvas. Hobo will repel and sicken many, but therein lies its vivacity as a true trash pastiche.

Based off a fake trailer made for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s movie Grindhouse, Hobo has been fleshed out by director Jason Eisener without noticeable lag. The story follows a nameless hobo (Rutger Hauer) riding a train into HellTown, a city of poverty and rampant corruption, controlled by a villainous cretin named Drake (Brian Downey).

Alongside his berserk sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman), they find gratification in breaking bones, setting children on fire, and drowning their noses in ludicrous amounts of cocaine.

While mayhem engulfs the city streets, the hobo, with the help of a gold-hearted hooker (Molly Dunsworth), decides justice comes with a shotgun, one shell at a time.

Cranked to the limit, from acting to camera compositions, the film leaves little time to digest everything that is thrown on screen. It is not enough to be slightly deranged in order to conceive a movie like Hobo With a Shotgun – it takes passion.

A vagrant who disposes of scum with a shotgun is too easy. To succeed on this level of vileness takes a sense of humour, juggling tones of comedy, graphic violence, and the human condition.

Apart from providing the crackling vigilante storyline, writer John Davies instills Hobo with some unexpected sentiment and oddly memorable monologues from the steely-haired Hauer. Consider the scene in which he is taken back to the hooker’s bed to rest after having a knife thrust into him. As he is given a shirt to wear, the emblem of a cartoon bear adorning his chest causes him recall thoughts on the animal, developing a quiet exchange between both characters, not feeling forced, but instead creating depth.

Credit not only Eisener and Davies for this balance, but also the conviction of Hobo’s cast, invigorating characters beyond the point of simple sketches. Rutger Hauer, a superb talent for the past four decades, creates a lived-in being.

The camera catches his worn face and eyes as Eisener smartly uses it to the film’s advantage. Oddly enough, Hauer’s hobo does not thirst for blood intentionally; he only wants money to buy a lawnmower to start his own grass-cutting business.

Hobo With a Shotgun not only pays tribute to 1970s and 1980s exploitation films, it mirrors the direct-to-video heyday verbatim. Encouraging jeers and cheers, stylistic devices are brilliantly supplied to back the excitement by way of a muffled synthesized score and cinematography saturated in Technicolor graininess.

Although a hard 'R' rating comes accordingly, Eisener thinks outside the box to earn it, devising new ways to destroy the human body with absurd mutilations, shot- gunned castrations, and an ice skate to the torso – all done with tongue firmly placed in cheek.

Some may condemn the film’s perpetual bad taste, but to do so would be to miss its bizarre blending of humour and nightmarish visuals. It is not just enough to have a man decapitated with barbed wire; the film takes it further, having a woman in a white bikini soak and gyrate in his blood.

 

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