With the holiday season in full swing, many people who might usually give blood are busy and don’t make their normal donation. Staff at Canadian Blood Services say it’s this time of year that donations are needed most.
“Supply is comfortable right now, but it's always important to keep it top of mind,” says Jacqueline Alain, with Canadian Blood Services. “It's hard during the holiday season for people because they are traveling perhaps, or going to family functions, so they're off their schedule.”
Harry Cross has made a point of sticking to his donation schedule. Every Monday morning at 8 a.m. the Saint John man gives blood and plasma, and Tuesday marked his 800th donation.
“You can do a lot of good, for very little cost, that's probably the best value of anything you've ever done,” says Cross.
Cross' first blood donation happened in 1961 when he was working at the oil refinery in Saint John.
“I came into work one afternoon and there were females in the control room, now that was impossible, and they were the wives of some of the operators and they had formed a Red Cross auxiliary and they were promoting a blood donor clinic the following day,” recalls cross.
At that time, a person could only donate whole blood every four months.
“Eventually they developed plasma, the early machines were old, were slow and it took a while and they gradually got newer and I got involved with the plasma,” says Cross.
Since then, Cross has donated blood and plasma on a regular basis.
“When you donate on a weekly basis, you are donating quite often with the same people, so you get to know the donors, at least by their first name,” says Cross. “You get to know the girls that work here, you get to know their kids, and you keep hearing stories about what their kids are doing, so it becomes a social outlet as well.”
Cross is hoping his commitment to donating will inspire more people to roll up their sleeves. He expects to reach his next milestone in about four years when he hits 1,000 donations.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Blackford