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Barenaked Ladies Sing Praises of Donating Bone Marrow, Blood

Canada Newswire, Winnipeg Free Press, August 28th, 2001.

AFTER the Barenaked Ladies' summer tour comes to an end tonight at Winnipeg Arena, the band hopes its message about the importance of giving bone marrow and blood will stay with fans for a long time to come.

The band has invited Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to bring its Have a Ball summer campaign to the final concert of the Maroon summer tour tonight. Fans will be able to visit a CBS booth to find out about volunteering to donate bone marrow and to arrange to book an appointment to give blood at a Winnipeg area clinic.

Since the tour was launched in Toronto on July 12, Barenaked Ladies have been helping CBS increase awareness of the need for donors.

"The support we've enjoyed from Barenaked Ladies during their summer tour has been wonderful," said Ian Mumford, vice-president of marketing for CBS.

The band's interest in bone marrow and blood donation comes from personal experience. In 1998, keyboardist Kevin Hearn was diagnosed with leukemia and was subsequently unable to tour with the band. His treatment included both a bone marrow transplant from his brother and blood transfusions. Thanks to this treatment, he is back on tour and he's hoping that by bringing Canadian Blood Services along, he has helped other people achieve the same kind of recovery.

"I'm alive today and performing again because I was able to get a bone marrow transplant and blood transfusions when I needed them," Hearn said. "If Barenaked Ladies can help other people in the same situation, we're thrilled to be able to lend a hand."

The band hopes that its fans will consider joining the CBS Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry. The registry lists people who have generously agreed to donate bone marrow to anyone in need. When a patient requires a bone marrow transplant, CBS can search this list to find a matching donor. Like Kevin, most bone marrow transplant patients are critically ill, and a matching donor offers their only chance for recovery. However, unlike Kevin, most patients can't find a matching donor within their own families. The CBS registry represents their one hope for a bone marrow transplant.

Giving blood is another way fans can help people undergoing bone marrow transplants. Many bone marrow transplant patients require large amounts of blood and blood products in the course of their treatment.