Peterborough family seeks to raise awareness of stem cell donation in memory of son – Peterborough


A Peterborough family is speaking out about the importance of stem cell donation after a stranger’s transplant helped their son, Harrison McKinnon.

Harrison was born on Sept. 15, 2014, but just after he turned one, the young boy got very sick.

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“He was ultimately diagnosed with lymphoma — anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. It’s a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which we were told is the good kind,” said Harrison’s mother, Shannon McKinnon.

Harrison went through a year and half of treatment, and in March of 2017, he had a stem cell transplant.

“He was matched to this anonymous donor so he was able to get the stem cell transplant, but unfortunately part of the process is that they eradicate the immune system so that the body doesn’t reject the stem cells, and that made him susceptible to infection,” McKinnon explained.

Harrison’s immune system got very weak, and he died of a bacterial infection in June 2017.

READ MORE: Alberta woman shares stem cell donation experience to raise awareness

But while Harrison is no longer here, his legacy lives on. On Thursday, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre and Canadian Blood Services organized a stem cell swab session in Harrison’s memory.

“They will mail you a self-swab kit. You do your cheek swabs: there’s four very long Q-tips, you’ll rub the inside of your cheek, send it in the sealed envelope back to us and then you are part of the registry,” said Debbi Barfoot, territory manager of Canadian Blood Services.

If you are someone’s match, it could have a far-reaching impact.

READ MORE: ‘Needle in a haystack’: Stem cell drive seeks match for man with two rare forms of cancer

“Basically, anyone in the world who has this unique marker profile could (be) matched to someone in this country and need their stem sells, basically to try and save their lives,” McKinnon said.

Harrison’s family is also organizing blood donor clinics on Feb. 19, 21 and 22 at Canadian Blood Services on George Street in Peterborough. They urge everyone to come out and donate and help honour little Harrison’s legacy.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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New Brunswick police officer rescues woman trapped in clothing donation bin – Halifax


A quick-thinking and observant police officer was able to save a woman who was trapped inside a clothing donation bin in Miramichi, N.B. early Monday morning.

According to a release from the Miramichi Police Force, the officer was driving past the Lord Beaverbrook Arena on University Avenue at around 3:30 a.m. Monday, when he happened to glance at a number of clothing donation bins at the edge of the arena parking lot.

‘This is a problem across the country’: Clothing donation bin deaths prompt demand for action

As he drove by, he thought he saw the metal flap on one of the bins move.

When he stopped to check, he found a 60-year-old woman inside the bin. She told him she had crawled inside to get out of the storm a few hours earlier, but had become stuck and was unable to get out on her own.

According to police, the officer was able to get her out and eventually drove her to a residence.

“Other than being very cold, physically she was okay,” the release said.

‘She was wonderful’: Friends hold vigil for Toronto woman who died in donation bin

The issue of people becoming trapped inside donation bins has been a deadly problem in this country. Earlier this month, the Canadian Press reported that since 2015, at least seven Canadians have died after getting stuck inside a clothing donation bin.

Since that report, a woman has died after being found inside a donation bin in Toronto on Jan. 8.

Many bins have a gate mechanism that is designed to prevent animals from getting in and to prevent theft. That mailbox-like design means that people can get inside the bin, but are unable to get out.

In the wake of the deaths, some jurisdictions have temporarily shut down the bins, while manufacturers look into changing their design.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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‘She was wonderful’: Friends hold vigil for Toronto woman who died in donation bin – Toronto


Dozens of people gathered with candles, flowers and picture collages Thursday night in the back alley of Toronto’s Bloorcourt Village neighbourhood, where a clothing donation bin used to sit.

Crystal Papineau, 35, is being remembered by friends in the same place she died just two days ago.

Papineau died Tuesday morning when she became trapped inside the clothing donation bin located behind a building near Bloor Street W and Dovercourt Road. Police say half of her body was still sticking out of the bin when emergency crews tried to save her.

“She was wonderful, she was funny, she was generous, she was kind,” said Patricia O’Connell with Sistering, a not-for-profit agency serving Toronto’s most vulnerable women.

“She was compassionate and she was a great friend to the other women.”

Friends at her vigil said she was homeless and frequently depended on the city’s women’s shelters.

“She was very outgoing and had a lot of love other people and always saw the optimistic side of things,” said Victoria James, who calls herself Papineau’s best friend.

She adds that Papineau used to frequently take clothing items out of the bins and shared them with other homeless or vulnerable women.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty says that all women’s shelters were full the night Papineau died and are using her death as a rallying cry to increase the number of resources for the city’s homeless population.

“Our group is going to be asking the mayor and the city to declare a state of emergency around homelessness so they can access other resources,” said Cathy Crowe with the Shelter Housing and Justice Network.

“The system is a mess. There are over a thousand people sleeping in overflow spaces right now.”

In response, Mayor John Tory’s staff said, “The mayor is committed to addressing homelessness in our city and its underlying causes.

“Mayor Tory and city council are already taking action to help residents in need,” said Tory’s spokesperson, Don Peat. “That is why he supported the expansion of the city’s winter respite program from one site in 2014 to nine sites this winter and adding 1,000 beds to the shelter system as soon as possible.”

The vigil ran from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Woman dies after found stuck partially inside a clothing donation bin


A woman found partially inside a west-end clothing donation bin and without vital signs was pronounced dead early Tuesday morning.

Emergency crews were called around 1:30 a.m. ET to the Dovercourt Road-Bloor Street area after receiving reports that a woman was inside the bin.

Paramedics performed CPR on her, but she was pronounced dead at the scene, Toronto EMS told CBC Toronto.

The circumstances surrounding the incident do not appear suspicious and the death is likely accidental, police told CBC video producer Tony Smyth at the scene.

Last week, The Canadian Press reported at least seven Canadians have died after getting stuck in clothing donation bins, leading one advocate in B.C. to call them « death traps. »

Late last month, a 34-year-old man died in a West Vancouver donation bin, while a 32-year-old man was found dead inside a bin in Cambridge, Ont., last November.

The bins’ hatches are designed to prevent theft of donations. But they can also trap someone leaning in too far.

The spate of deaths has led some to call for the bins to be redesigned or removed.

Loretta Sundstrom, whose 45-year-old daughter died in 2015 after getting stuck in a bin, told CBC’s World Report last week that she cried at news of the man’s death in West Vancouver. She said something must be done about the bins’ safety risk.

« Shut them all down, » she said. « Shut them all down and get a designer and redesign these things. »

In the wake of the man’s death, West Vancouver closed all of its bins.


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Alberta charities work to ensure donation box safety after B.C. death


A number of charities serving Alberta that use donation bins are reviewing their safety protocol after the death of a man in Vancouver this week.

On Monday, a man became trapped and died in a donation bin in West Vancouver, the 5th such death in the region since 2015.

A similar death took place in Calgary in July 2017, followed by a serious injury the following summer.

Push to remove donation bins in B.C. gains steam following latest death

Safety upgrades

Goodwill Industries of Alberta is one charity that has installed upgraded boxes. Some of the improvements include rollover chutes — which block inside access while pulled open — and stronger locks.

“We take it very seriously and we do everything we can to ensure that when people choose to use the after-hour bins that every essence of safety is involved,” said Brenda Hawryluk, the director of brand integrity and business relations at Goodwill.

Diabetes Canada, which has 4,000 boxes located across Canada, is working with its Canadian-based manufacturer to retrofit its bins, spokesperson Kathleen Powderley told Global News by email on Friday.

“Although death or injury related to the misuse of clothing donation bins is not common, we feel that if there is an opportunity to prevent this type of tragic incident, we must make every effort to find a solution,” Powderley wrote.

Inclusion Alberta, which specializes in helping children and adults with special needs, has 50 bins in the province, about a quarter of which are older models, according to the organization’s CEO, Trish Bowman.

“In terms of these 12 boxes, we’ll be taking some immediate action in terms of increasing the safety notices on the boxes,” Bowman said. “We’re going to be speaking with first responders to see if there’s anything that we could be doing to ensure they can respond quickly should someone get trapped in a box.”

Edmonton volunteers return this winter to serve chili to the homeless

Multi-faceted solution

While design changes are part of the solution, it’s also about solving the root causes, anti-poverty group Bissell Centre told Global News.

“People that are sleeping [in the bins] or people that are seeking refuge are pretty desperate. They’re looking for ways to stay warm, stay dry,” said Matt Ashdown, the director of community programs and services at the organization.

For charities like Goodwill, it’s an effort to ensure safety while maintaining a valuable revenue tool.

“Without the donations, we do not have the revenue stream for our stores. Without the venue stream, we’re not able to provide almost 90 cents to every dollar back into our mission,” Hawryluk said.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Man dies after getting stuck in clothing donation bin in West Vancouver


A man is dead after he was found stuck in a clothing donation bin in West Vancouver on Sunday morning.

First responders received a call just before 8:30 a.m. from an off-duty physician who discovered the man near Ambleside Park at the intersection of 13th Street and Bellevue Avenue, according to Const. Jeff Palmer, spokesperson for the West Vancouver Police Department.

Palmer said the man was unresponsive and stuck partway in the opening of the bin. Paramedics attempted to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Donation bins are found in parking lots and along roadsides across Metro Vancouver. The hatches are designed to keep goods inside and protected, but if a person gets trapped in the mechanism, they can be constricted and killed.

The B.C. Coroners Service is investigating the death, but Palmer said there is no indication of any foul play.

« It does appear this is a very tragic but accidental death, » said Palmer.

The family of the 34-year-old Vancouver resident has been notified of his death, but his identity has not been released.

Palmer said there have been no other clothing bin injuries or deaths in West Vancouver

In July, a woman in her 30s died after being stuck in a clothing bin on Vancouver’s West Side, and a man was found dead in Surrey after getting caught in a clothing donation bin near Guildford in 2016.

‘Change needs to happen now’

Sunday’s death renewed the call for change from a Vancouver-based charity that works with the homeless on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Union Gospel Mission (UGM) spokesperson Nicole Mucci said the death is « absolutely gut-wrenching » and added that donations bins need to be removed from the streets until they are safe.

« If UGM had bins like this, we would have taken them off the streets long ago. We have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable members in our population, » said Mucci.

« If one life has been lost, that’s one life too many. Change needs to happen now. »

As of Monday evening, the donation bin had been cordoned off with police tape but had not yet been removed from its location.


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Donation drives bring in more than 300 gifts for Lethbridge seniors spending Christmas alone this year – Lethbridge


The holiday blues can be a very real and dangerous emotion for isolated seniors, but community members and organizations are working together to turn those feelings of isolation into thoughts of cheer this December.

A party was held at Age Care on Tuesday to benefit seniors spending Christmas alone this year.

Lethbridge charities preparing for holiday season

“We’ve found that socializing is really good for brain health,” said Shari Remus with Alzheimer’s Society of Alberta, “and for seniors around Christmastime we’re finding they’re not getting the socializing they need and they feel very left out.”

Organizers said social isolation can be twice as deadly as obesity and can increase the risk of dementia by two thirds.

An issue many seniors living in care facilities can experience, especially during the holiday season.

“Some of the seniors don’t have family nearby, or have lost loved ones and have no one to celebrate with, so this is very important to them,” said Barb Funk, care coordinator with Age Care.

However, local organizations and community members are hoping to change that this year with the ‘Christmas to Remember’ and ‘Stocking Stuffers for Seniors’ donation drives, where more than 300 gifts have been collected for seniors across the city this Christmas.

“We are seniors, so if we were by ourselves I think we’d be very sad but appreciative if someone remembers us on Christmas,” said volunteer Judy Cartwright.

Generations Foundation 2018 Holiday Toy Drive kicks off

The gifts will be given to seniors who otherwise may not be receiving anything this holiday season, a notion one volunteer says is often overlooked.

“I’m a student myself, so I spend much of the holidays alone. I think a lot of the time people forget about seniors, so this is a good way to give back to the community,” said volunteer Ashely Labossiere.

Volunteers will be delivering the gifts to hundreds of seniors on Christmas day.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Robbery of donation bins spikes just before Holidays – Montreal


Local community organizations in Montreal that collect donated goods to support the needy are having some of their donation bins robbed.

They say they’ve seen a spike in the robberies in the last few weeks.

WATCH BELOW: NDG clothing donation bin controversy

“We have a store in West Island and the box is broken into every day,” says Éric St-Arnaud, assistant director general for Renaissance Montreal, an organization that helps people reintegrate into the workforce.  “The past four months it’s been two to three times a week.”

He says bins across the city that belong to Renaissance are also being targeted frequently.

Thieves break into the bins by cutting the locks and sometimes even replacing them with their own. They take everything from clothes to electronics and often leave in trucks and large vans. St-Arnaud says it costs his organization thousands of dollars.

“It’s a few hundred dollars to modify per box,” St-Arnaud says. “Plus, when they vandalize it, you have to add a few thousand dollars to repair it.”

WATCH BELOW: Safer clothing donation bins under design

He says people need to understand that when they steal from the bins, they’re only hurting vulnerable members of the community.

“We have close to a million people donating to us, and we are really grateful,” he says. “But at the same time, some other people think that because this is donation, we can get anything for free. But it’s costly for a non-profit organization.”

He says police do try to help, but unless there are video surveillance cameras on site, it’s hard to track the suspects.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Can Man Dan sets record-breaking donation: ‘This is Edmonton’s record’ – Edmonton


‘Can Man Dan’ Johnstone aims to pay it forward, and now he’s breaking records in doing so.

Johnstone set the record for the most toys collected by a single person for 630 CHED Santa’s Anonymous during his four-day camp out outside of Famous Toys Warehouse.

In total, he raised over $50,000 worth of toys — an entire truckload.

The toys will be delivered to children across the city next weekend, and Santa’s Anonymous is nothing short of appreciative.

Can Man Dan’s latest Edmonton campout in support of 630 CHED Santas Anonymous

The charity said in an Instagram post, “your dedication is incredible”.

Though he achieved landmark success in the charitable effort, he simply will not take all of the credit.

“It’s not my record, this is Edmonton’s record,” said Johnstone.

“They’re the ones who donate. They come out in droves and see me. I just stand there like a fool.

“People were coming all hours of the day and night just to donate – whether it was one toy or 10 toys.”

WATCH: Can Man Dan camps out to support Edmonton’s Food Bank

Right now, the anti-poverty activist is on a mission for the city. He’s on his third of five camp outs, and the next is for the Edmonton Food Bank.

“It feels good,” Johnstone remarked, “but I still have a lot of work to do before Christmas.”

When it comes to exactly how he was able to raise over $50,000 in toys for Santa’s Anonymous, he said it comes down to the relationship he has with Edmonton.

“This city and I have this weird relationship where I can ask them for whatever I want,” Johnstone said. “Whether I want to fill a truck full of food, clothes, or toys, they’ll just do it — and that’s why I love Edmonton.”

But it doesn’t happen overnight. Can Man Dan is an initiative that started when Johnstone turned 18, after being on the other side of those donations.

“Growing up poor kick-started this whole initiative,” he said.

“I remember vividly some of the things I got as a kid and I wanted to keep the cycle going.

“We relied on so many different social services like the Food Bank and Santa’s Anonymous- basically every program you could think of.

“So, I turned 18 and started the whole Can Man Dan initiative and since then we’ve raised millions for our city.”

Edmonton families line up for free school supplies, haircuts as kids return to class

Since the initiative started, he’s helped thousands of people and there’s always another project he’s working on.

This is his eighth year of camp outs for local charities, and in total this year, he’s spent 12 days outside in Edmonton’s bitter cold climate.

“It was cold, to be honest,” he said, but he does find a way to stay warm.

“Seeing all those smiles, and getting all those hugs and handshakes, and loading all these toys into the truck, that’s what kept me warm,” Johnstone said.

“The Christmas spirit was alive and well. It was special.”

Johnstone was born and raised in Edmonton, and has a tireless love for the city.

“I love this city. There’s not a thing I wouldn’t do for it.”

He’s able to achieve charitable successes like this one because of Edmonton’s generosity — and Johnstone says it’s chart-topping.

“This is the most generous city in the entire world. I know I might be a bit biased, but I truly believe it,” he said. “I’m so glad we could help thousands of kids this Christmas.

“This victory is for Edmonton specifically.”

You can find Can Man Dan camping outside of the Heritage Safeway at 2304 109th Street from December 13th to 16th, and again at Southbrook Sobeys at 1109 James Mowatt Trail from December 22nd to December 24th.

He’ll be gathering food, toy, and monetary donations for Edmonton’s Food Bank.

LISTEN BELOW: Full Interview with Can Man Dan about his record-setting donation

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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New West Police seek tips in poppy donation tin theft


New Westminster Police have released new details of a man suspected of stealing a poppy donation tin.

They say the theft occurred on Thursday at 2 p.m. PT at the Royal Canadian Legion at 631 6th Street. 

The suspect, described by police as a white male between the ages of 50 and 60, ordered food and paid for it at the cash register. After he left, staff noticed a poppy donation tin missing. 

After reviewing surveillance video, police say it appears the man took the tin and concealed it while he was paying for his meal.

Staff later found the empty donation tin outside. 

One of three thefts on Thursday

The theft was one of three donation tin thefts in the city of New Westminster on Nov. 8.

Sgt. Jeff Scott called the theft « disheartening. »

If anyone has any information about this theft or any of the other poppy donation thefts, they are asked to call New Westminster Police at 604-525-5411.


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