CONSTABLE BRUCE DENNISTON AND THE OTTAWA CHAPTER
CONSTABLE BRUCE DENNISTON
The Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society was named after Constable Bruce Denniston, an RCMP member, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 1987. His only hope for long term survival was a bone marrow transplant. None of his family members were compatible donors, and so an unrelated donor was sought. The One Match Donor Registry formerly the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry was in its infancy at the time and had few registered donors.
It was as a result of Bruce’s need that his colleagues in the RCMP and the community of Powell River, B.C., rallied to his cause and spread the word about the need for donors, not only for Bruce , but for all patients in similar circumstances. This led to a ground swell of initiatives including the formation of the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society. Thus from the beginning, the RCMP and it’s employees provided support to the objectives of the Society. Although a donor match was eventually found for Bruce, unfortunately the disease had ravaged his body for too long, and he was unable to recover from the transplant.
The Society continues to raise money to help the Registry find donor matches as quickly and effectively as possible. This partnership between the Registry and the Society, in its second decade, is committed to a common goal of saving as many lives as possible. Attaining this objective means that every man, woman and child, needing a bone marrow transplant, can have hope for a second chance at life.
THE OTTAWA CHAPTER
The Ottawa Chapter was established on June 27th, 2000, on the occasion of the 3rd Annual Bruce Denniston Golf Tournament. Local volunteers, responsible for organizing the tournament on behalf of the Society, felt that their efforts would be more effective by being part of the Society and would perpetuate Constable Bruce Denniston’s legacy in the Ottawa area. In the subsequent years, the Chapter continued to raise funds, primarily through its annual golf tournament, and through various fund raising initiatives including grants, and special events promoting the importance of being a stem cell/bone marrow donor, including the expansion of the ethnic diversification of the Canadian donor registry.
Since its inception, the Ottawa Chapter has continuously benefited from its close relationship with the RCMP Veterans Association – Ottawa Division, as several members of the Chapter and its leadership group, are RCMP Veterans. This provides the Chapter with access to many community leaders and business contacts in the Ottawa region, which include important donors to the Chapter. The RCMP Veterans Association also provides key logistical support to the Chapter, such as access to meeting rooms and training facilities. The Ottawa Chapter and the RCMP Veterans Association co-organize and co-host the annual golf tournament, and share the financial proceeds of the event. The Chapter participates in the annual RCMP Sunset Ceremonies in Ottawa, where members provide logistical support and promote the Society.
” In the late 1980’s, the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society took a lead role in the creation and establishment of a bone marrow registry in Canada. Since then, it has continued to financially support the needs of the Canadian Donor Registry. We also promote the recruitment of donors, including those who are unique like the Inuit and the many culturally diverse Canadians. Since 2008, the Society has provided a world-wide courier service, free of charge, to any Canadian Transplant Hospital for the pick-up or delivery of bone marrow or stem cells, required for their patients. Most recently, the Society was a partner in the establishment of the Canadian Umbilical Cord Blood Bank, which opened in 2015. This Cord Bank is expected to be an additional source of life saving stem cells for all Canadian patients, but most importantly for our Aboriginal and multi-ethnic patients.
We are proud and honored to be a part of this great Canadian story”
Brent MacDonald, Chapter President, 2017
The Ottawa Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant program performs approximately 200 stem cell transplants per year for the treatment of blood cancers and other rare blood or immune disorders. Approximately 20% of these transplants will require an unrelated stem cell donor, recruited through one of several registries worldwide. To this end, the Bruce Denniston Bone Marrow Society has partnered with the Ottawa Hospital to provide volunteer courier services for transport of unrelated donor stem cells to our patients in need. This group, comprised mainly of retired RCMP officers, travels the world on short notice with quick turnaround and 100% commitment to the safety and security of the life-sustaining product in their care.
Carey Landry, BSc, PhD
Program Manager, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ottawa Hospital