Six years ago, Dennis Gudbranson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

“You can only imagine what it’s like, hearing that a six-year-old has cancer,” said his mother, Ottawa resident Donna Leith-Gudbranson. “It’s kind of like the floor drops out.”

After undergoing five rounds of chemotherapy in six months, Dennis showed symptoms again a year later. With no compatible bone marrow matches in the family, the Gudbransons turned to the national bone marrow registry.

“His chances of finding a donor were one in 40,000,” said Leith-Gudbranson.

But then a miracle happened.

The registry found a 10/10 match and today, doctors have declared Dennis cured.

“He’s a busy, vibrant 13-year-old. He’s a normal kid, which is the most amazing thing,” his mother said.

For the first time in Ottawa, a group of students are hosting an event to get as many people on the OneMatch stem cell and marrow registry as possible.

Open to students, staff and city residents, Get Swabbed! is coming to Carleton University today and uOttawa tomorrow as part of a cross-country stem cell swabbing event.

“We’re hoping as many people as possible will come out,” said the organizer for both events, Ilan Orzy.

Orzy, whose grandmother died of leukemia, said the idea for the event resonated with him.

He’s not alone.

“I think students want to give back,” he said. “There are a lot of students who want to get involved and make a difference. This is a great way of doing it.”

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