Winnipeg radio host encourages listeners to “Swab with Dilly”

Man lying in the hospital
Sean during his stem cell donation.
Person holding their baby on their shoulders
Neil and his daughter Audrey.
Group of people standing in front of a hot sign
Morning show co-hosts Mark Morris (centre right) and Sean “Dilly” Dilworth (right) with family members at the July donation event. All photos from Instagram @seandilworthradio. 

Sean Dilworth (Dilly) is no stranger to the importance of stem cell transplants and blood donation. Six years ago, Sean’s cousin Neil was battling cancer and needed a stem cell transplant. Dilly joined the registry in the hopes that he would be a match for Neil.

Neil had a very rare blood cancer called multiple myeloma. This type of cancer occurs in only one per cent of men under 40. Unfortunately, no match could be found for Neil, and he eventually lost his battle with cancer. But Sean’s stem cell journey didn’t end there. He received a call that would change both his life and the life of a patient in need.  

During that call, Sean learned that he was a match for a stranger in need. In honour of his cousin, Sean made his stem cell donation for that stranger. According to Sean, “making a stem cell donation to save a life was a no-brainer. I am honoured to be a stem cell donor.” 

Sean approached Canadian Blood Services’ donor relations team early this summer asking how he could organize a stem cell swabbing event to grow the registry. Verna Chow, Kristy McFee and Brett Lawrence met with Sean to discuss how they could work together on this project. From the very first meeting with Sean, the team knew that he would be a very special advocate. Sean co-hosts a local radio show, Hot 100.5’s “Mark & Dilly in the Morning.” He used his large and engaged audience on social media and the morning show to sign people up for his unique blood and stem cell team, Swab with Dilly. 

On July 19, the Canadian Blood Services donor centre on William Avenue in Winnipeg, Man. was filled with blood donors and would-be stem cell registrants who heard about the event on Dilly’s show. With the help of the donor relations team (including the summer students) and clinic staff, the event went off without a hitch, bringing great energy to the donor centre. The event garnered a ton of social media exposure, and many who couldn’t swab in person still registered through Dilly’s team link.  

Leading up to the in-person event at the Winnipeg donor centre, Sean took full advantage of his network to support this important cause, by sharing his and Neil’s story, re-sharing posts from Canadian Blood Services, creating a reel of the donation experience (found here), continually talking about the event and his Partners for Life team on his show and even having Canadian Blood Services’ community development manager, Brett Lawrence on the show the morning of the swabbing event. Sean brought both creativity and passion to the campaign, inspiring many to join the stem cell registry or to donate blood — or both. Sean’s family, including Neil’s daughter, Audrey, were also a key part of making this event a success and building the momentum needed to get folks involved. 

Thankfully, the partnership with Sean Dilworth didn’t end there. Dilly will continue to promote Canada’s Lifeline on his social media, and the donor relations team is in regular conversation with Dilly to brainstorm ideas for the next event to save lives. By the end of 2023, Sean hopes to encourage a total of 50 additional blood donations.