This past Monday saw 55 donations at the Red Deer Blood Donor Clinic, many of which were in memory of Joshua Hurlburt.
Joshua passed away in 2010 after suffering from an immune disorder called Chronic Ganulomatous Disease (CGD) his entire life.
“Joshua had over 80 transfusions and two bone marrow transplants. [The blood drive] is just something we can do to give back,” said Joshua’s mom, Jan Hurlburt.
Jan donated on Monday for the first time since she was 17 and said she was initially concerned that they wouldn’t want her blood because of the rare blood disorder that her son suffered from. “I guess that was just a misconception. But we are glad to be able to give back when Josh required so much.”
Kaelyn Smith, community development coordinator with Canadian Blood Services Red Deer, said Monday was a critical day to get people in.
“People can book their appointments every 56 days.”
Smith also said with the holidays coming up it is important for people to give before they go. “We need people to come in and donate before they go on vacations to tropical places because often when they come back they’re not eligible to donate.”
Many friends and family members of Joshua were donating on Monday in his memory and the family had stickers made up that said “I donated in memory of joshuasride.com.”
Jan said that when Josh was undergoing treatments he required platelets to prevent him from bleeding out and to create the essential clotting factors in his blood.
“They had none for him. It takes four donors to create a platelet donation and yet it’s something that people can donate easily,” said Jan.
Jan and her husband Robin both donated blood on Monday and Jan said it was easy.
“Just a little bit of pressure but nothing too bad. Everybody is just afraid of a needle.”
Josh was the youngest of three siblings and was 27 years old when he passed away.
Jan said they want to ensure that anybody who needs blood can find it and that there not be a shortage. “Josh was such a character; he loved to make people laugh. With the disease Josh was supposed to live in a bubble but he insisted on living a normal life, and he did just that.”
The Hurlburts would like to see the clinic become an annual event. Joshua’s birthday was Dec. 1st so Smith and Jan both said it was important and poignant to have the clinic so close to that date.
Smith said right now is a very important time to give and that first time and returning donors are welcome to phone for information or to book an appointment.
“The holidays are a time when you have so much on your mind. Donating blood can leave top of mind because you get bombarded by other activities,” said Smith.
Smith said between Dec. 19 and 26 it is crucial for them to see more donors and create a good blood supply because of the necessity through the holidays.
“For donors it’s important that you have a big breakfast that day and be 17 years of age, have no piercings or tattoos within the last six months and be in general good health,” said Smith.
There is a screening process before a person can donate.
“We’d like to say a special thanks to the Hurlburt family and their friends and supporters for this clinic as we couldn’t have done it without them,” said Smith.
For more information or to book appointments visit www.blood.ca and for more information on Joshua’s story visit www.joshuasride.com.