Trinity Western University rallies behind student diagnosed with cancer

The Trinity Western University community is rallying to save the life of a student.

Jay Lutz of Langley was set to begin a communications degree at TWU in September 2015, but postponed his studies when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia just days before classes began. His doctor has recommended a stem cell transplant, but Lutz hasn’t been able to find a donor match.

A TWU biology student named Keenan Klassen wanted to help when he heard Lutz’ story, and called Canadian Blood Services with an idea.

Together, TWU and CBS will host a stem cell drive at the university’s Langley campus on November 26, 2015, in hopes of obtaining donor matches for many of the Canadians, including Lutz, who are waiting for stem cell transplants. Potential donors can attend the drive in TWU’s cafeteria between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to register for the donor database and have their cheek swabbed.

Klassen believes the tight-knit university community, through which students can connect one other to the cause, will help make the drive successful.

“It’s kind of cool—integrating support for general stem cell donations, which is a huge thing that we need right now, and also Jay’s story,” he said. “It’s a lifesaving program. I’m pretty hopeful that he’ll be connected.”

Lutz is touched by the show of support. "I am blown away by how the Trinity community is surrounding me with love even though at this point I am just a fringe member," he said. "It makes me eager for the opportunity to join and jump in fully as soon as I've recovered."

TWU and their biology club have a history of working with CBS, having given 553 units of blood to date through blood drives. So far this year, they’ve given 205 units—a number comparable to the donations of much larger universities such as University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. They’re currently the only university in B.C. to host two blood donor clinics per year.

Note: Joining the donor database is a long-term commitment. Donors may be matched with anyone who needs stem cells. Please visit Canadian Blood Services to learn more about what it means to donate.

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