Canadian Blood Services is inviting Central Albertans to show their support for blood recipients and donors by participating in this year’s Wrap It Up Red Holiday Campaign.
An event was held last week at the Red Deer location of Canadian Blood Services where recipients of blood were present to tell their stories of how blood donations played a roll in their lives as well as to show their support for those who have donated blood.
Blood recipient Sharon Schultz was present where she thanked 250-time donor Patti Durand and they participated in wrapping up a gift in red, to later be donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Alberta.
Schultz shared her story of how as a young child she developed a rare condition known as acute idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disorder that causes a rash and increased tendency to bleed.
Although she was only in Grade 1 at the time, Schultz spent a number of months in the hospital where she underwent a volume of blood transfusions.
“It was many, many years before I thought about those transfusions again because I had been so young and made a full recovery,” explained Schultz during her thank you speech.
“Little did I know that many years later, I would be monitoring my husband’s transfusions as he underwent treatment for cancer, as well as monitor my sister’s transfusions as she too had to have chemotherapy for cancer.
“Although neither one of them survived cancer, the life blood that was given to them helped them to hold on that much longer, so I am eternally grateful for the donations.”
Durand also shared her story of how she began donating blood as a young adult attending Olds College, but didn’t become a regular donor until after she gave birth to her daughter and hemorrhaged, requiring her to receive a transfusion as well.
“After that day, and receiving the blood I did, I always thought that if I could help someone to be able to carry on then I would do everything I could to do so.”
Schultz had donated whole blood around 75 times in Alberta before moving to New Brunswick for work, which is where she began donating plasma and had accumulated nearly 200 donations before she moved back to Alberta.
She has since been awarded with a pin to show she has donated blood for her 250th time.
Susan Matsumota, director of Donor Relations for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and NWT Blood Services, explained the Wrap It Up Red campaign aims to wrap objects in red to raise awareness for the need for blood throughout the holiday season.
“It’s typically a very busy time of year for people, and donating blood likely isn’t on the top of most peoples minds,” said Matsumota.
“But patient need is constant and patients will require large volumes of blood over the next two weeks.”
Matsumota explained there are more than 200 vacant appointments to be filled in the coming weeks, and while all blood types are needed on a daily basis there is always a high demand for O negative blood donors.
To book an appointment today, download the GiveBlood app, visit www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE.