Dear Ontario Secondary School Principals,

I am writing with a service opportunity for Grade 12 students to earn up to 10 hours of Community Involvement before graduation, while also possibly saving a life. This activity conforms to the guiding principles outlined in the Ontario Ministry of Education’s PPM 124a, and can be completed from the safety of home, during the current provincial lockdown.

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is a well-established community sponsor who has historically involved Ontario students in various pre-approved activities, such as blood donation. This year, due to tremendous need, CBS is offering activities related to joining the Canadian Stem Cell Registry.

CBS is committed to enhancing this experience for September 2021 with additional resources and a streamlined online application process, including post-secondary institutions. It is our hope that “Students Saving Lives” can become an annual rite of passage for young Canadians who are willing and able to participate, similar to the robust registry in Germany.

There are currently 800 Canadians waiting for a match to survive. My daughter, Hillary, is one of them. One of your students may choose to offer the life-saving gift she requires. I am a well-respected member of my Ottawa community with a Mayor’s citation, a Director of Education’s Commendation Award, and an international following. I am privileged and honoured to have the opportunity to connect student volunteers with a meaningful way to be of service to their community, through this worthy initiative.

Your feedback is most welcome and greatly appreciated as we strive to improve the ways in which this heroic opportunity is offered to those eligible in Canada.

Thank you.

Yours in community service,

Kelly McKibbin
#StartWithHillary.ca

Schools may enhance the activity with additional exercises or increase the number of hours. Parents/guardians have been given authority by the Ministry to approve hours until June 2022. Guest speakers for online classroom engagement purposes are available upon request through Canadian Blood Services. All resources are also available in French.

Acknowledgements

I must acknowledge the generous nature of several professionals who helped me get this project off the ground. Thank you Canadian Blood Services for saying yes on my first real phone call in a year, and for letting me go ahead with it now, mistakes and all. Some can’t wait. Thank you to the OCSB for embracing this initiative late on a Sunday evening, when the volume of info is already too great. Thank you to my in-waiting business partner who pulled over while driving to fix my spam issue, cause he knows I can’t wait. To the perfect Twitter stranger who translated all of the materials into French in exchange for an extra-large Gabriel’s. To the Principal who understood my plight thanks to her own battle with cancer, and connected me with a equally empathic and knowledgable colleagues. Your collective understanding of this complex issue is a gift to your students. To my mother, on Mother’s Day, who at this very moment, is seeking out new contacts, responding to inquiries, delivering milk and running shoes. Thank you. That’s the kind of support we need. This was an organic collaboration that was truly meant to be.