Across Canada

Why does André Cain give blood? In a way, it began with 19th century lawyer and politician Richard Chapman Weldon. Weldon helped establish the school of law at Dalhousie University and gave his name to the Weldon law school building. His contributions to public life are remembered in the Weldon Tradition – the law school’s dedication to unselfish public service. “This tradition takes on a different meaning for each student,” explains André, who is in his second year of the program. “For me…donating blood is a tangible way to make the life of someone else a little better.”

At 27 years old, with almost a dozen donations under his belt, André is part of a new  generation of young donors who are carrying on another important tradition. As the population ages, so does the country’s donor base; within the next decade many loyal donors will no longer be eligible to give blood because of illness or medications. Young donors like André are stepping in to pick up the torch.

“I believe the law is not simply a business, but also a responsibility for public service,” says André of his chosen career. “With the privilege that comes with a legal education there also comes a responsibility to give back. It is easy to articulate those platitudes, but it is even more meaningful to make your actions speak instead of your words.”

On Friday, January 28, André witnessed the end of an era when he became the very last whole blood donor at the Gottingen Street clinic in Halifax. After 40 years in business, the iconic clinic closed its doors for the last time. The following Monday, Halifax donors were welcomed at a new clinic on Bayers Road. In addition to state-of-the-art facilities, the new clinic boasts extended hours, dedicated parking, and a convenient location.

André was not alive when the Gottingen Street clinic first opened its doors almost half a century ago but he was a part of the clinic’s story and he is perhaps one of the city’s youngest donors. It’s appropriate that he was there to help turn the page on a new chapter in the story of blood donation in Halifax. “I was so honoured to be the last person to donate at the Gottingen Street location. I was humbled by how a seemingly small act made me feel so big.”

“Tens of thousands of people have benefited from all of us rolling up our sleeves, and I am positive that the tradition of the Gottingen Street location will live on…at the Bayers Road Centre.”