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$5m needed for cord blood bank

IN its 100th year the Rotary Club of WA has launched a fundraising campaign to establish the state’s first-ever public cord blood bank. The blood, which comes from umbilical cords of newborn babies and contains vital stem cells, will be used as an additional treatment for patients requiring bone marrow transplantation, allowing it to save countless lives, according to the organising committee. The particular advantage of the treatment is that cord blood is more easily matched than bone marrow, as the bank would cover a wide range of the state’s ethnic backgrounds. While private cord blood banks have existed in the state for some time, this is the first time a public one has been proposed. Fundraising coordinator Con O’Ryan said the campaign aimed to raise $5 million, half of which will be used in the construction of the bank itself at the existing Red Cross Blood Bank site on Wellington Street in the city. The other half, he said, would be used to cover operational costs in the immediate future. The fund has already received a $1 million donation from Lotterywest and $500,000 from Japanese philanthropist Haruhisa Handa. The Save Foundation of Australia, based in Perth, is organising two safari tours later this year to Botswana and Zimbabwe for people from around Australia and New Zealand in order to raise funds to save endangered animals from extinction. The tours, which cater for 20 people, are fully escorted and will take place between August 24 and September 7, and September 8 to September 25. The cost of the trip is $7,500 from Perth and includes a donation to the foundation of $1,300, which is tax deductible. President of the Save Foundation, Nicholas Duncan, said the cost of the trip was substantially lower than what was normally the case because of deals he has been able to negotiate. The Save Foundation is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1987. Through its captive breeding program the foundation was recently credited with saving the African black rhinoceros from extinction in Zimbabwe. More information on the tours can be obtained from the foundation’s website at www.savefoundation.org.au The Busselton Medical Research Foundation will launch a study of asthma in June, involving 7,500 local residents. Entitled ‘The Changing Prevalence of Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease in Australia’, the research project is the result of a National Health and Medical Research Council project grant secured in November last year. The new study will build on existing data to expand the research area of ‘trends in risk factors’ for asthma and respiratory disease over the period of nearly 40 years since the first study. The Busselton population health studies have been conducted in an on-going cross-sectional fashion since 1966 and are considered valuable, as no other Australian population has been monitored for respiratory disease for as long as Busselton. UWA’s Prosh newspaper will hit the streets on Wednesday April 20. This year, the satirical publication is benefiting the Leukemia Foundation of WA, the Senses Foundation of WA and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of WA. The organisers’ goal is to raise more than last year’s figure of $100,000.

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