Community rallies behind retired police officer battling cancer
Ottawa police hosted a One Match mouth-swab clinic at police headquarters today.
The event was created to help find a stem cell match for retired Sgt. Wayne Niemi, but it quickly turned into an initiative to raise awareness about becoming a donor.
Nieme was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer in October 2014. He was undergoing chemotherapy when doctors found a second cancerous growth.
The 60-year-old was then diagnosed with ‘Double-Hit Lymphoma’.
“You really don’t know what cancer is until you get it. You know you hear about it and you can speculate what people are hearing and that but when you have it, it’s absolutely devastating,” said Niemi.
Police teamed up with Canadian Blood Services to host the event.
“In Canada, there’s approximately 1000 patients who are waiting for a stem cell donor to help them save their lives,” said Jennifer Heale with Canadian Blood Services.
After the event was organized, Niemi was told he would likely receive a stem cell treatment in November. Organizers decided to continue with the event in support of other Canadians in need of a donation.
Officers encouraged everyone to come and do a quick cheek-swab between 11a.m. and 1 p.m.
“Just the fact that you can save someone’s life, I think you don’t need to explain any further, and I know Wayne from previous work so it’s a little touchy,” said Cindy Ibrahim who came to do a mouth-swab.
“I think if you put yourself in the shoes of some of these people that could use it… we’re just really happy to do our part however we can,” said Matthieu Methot with Ottawa Police.
A total of 96 potential donors swabbed the inside of their cheeks to take a tissue sample.