Nancy Cyr-Caron’s smiling face is the first thing donors see at the clinic in Moncton, New Brunswick. As the clinic’s Donor Services Representative, she registers each person who comes through the doors and helps them book their next appointment. With her big smile and sunny personality, she’s a favourite among the donors; but what many people don’t know about Nancy is that she has a very personal reason for supporting Canada’s blood system.

Born with a heart condition that left his aorta and valves damaged, her son Billy needed several surgeries and was on the receiving end of countless transfusions. The illness ravaged his tiny body and left him with very little energy. Fortunately, anonymous donors were there to breathe new life into him.

Nancy recalls the change that came over Billy after his transfusions: “He had very little energy. He would sleep a lot or cry. But within a few hours of a transfusion he would be smiling and playing.”

Billy’s life was cut short after only a year, but Nancy cherishes every moment she had with him: “Because of blood donors I had a year with my son and in that year I told him over and over again, a million times, that I loved him.”

These anonymous heroes inspired Nancy and her husband to become blood donors themselves and when the clinic in Moncton opened last year, she applied for a job. “I love my job!” she says. “It is a real pleasure to be working for Canadian Blood Services because I really believe in the importance of blood donations.”

Nancy is the clinic’s secret weapon. An enthusiastic recruiter, she’s had no trouble filling the donor chairs with friends, family, former colleagues and the students she used to teach in her days as an educator. When donors are nervous, she shares Billy’s story and fills them with the inspiration that led her to give her first donation. Earlier this year, she shared her story on the CTV evening news, inspiring complete strangers to visit the clinic and become new donors.

Billy’s life may have been short but his legacy lives on. “It means so much to me to know that my little boy is making a difference.”