Partners for Life

Richmond’s Kate Lekas has been instrumental in saving the lives of up to 6,000 Canadians over the past decade.

But Kate isn’t a doctor or scientist or superhero – she’s simply someone who saw an opportunity to make a difference in her workplace through blood donation and has committed to making the program a success.

While Kate had been a blood donor for many years, she hadn’t thought about rallying her colleagues at the City of Vancouver to follow suit until fall 2001, when attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center brought to light the importance of blood donation.

“Within hours of the 9/11 attacks, we had employees and members of the public asking us to set up a blood donation clinic,” notes Kate. “People were watching what happened and wanting to help in some way. While it was soon determined that blood was not needed in the United States in the aftermath of the attacks, Canadian Blood Services reminded us that we need blood all of the time right here in Canada.”

The realization prompted Kate to join Canadian Blood Services’ group giving program Partners for Life as the City of Vancouver “champion,” and she has been managing the partnership ever since. She coordinates regular communication bulletins to staff, books shuttles from worksites to clinics and more recently Bloodmobile visits to various City of Vancouver sites across the city and reminds colleagues about the importance of donating blood.

Since October 2001, Kate has been instrumental in arranging more than 2,000 donations from City of Vancouver employees. And since one donation has the power to impact up to three lives, 6,000 lives have been forever changed thanks to Kate’s commitment.

That very dedication to Canada’s blood system was recognized this past fall at Canadian Blood Services’ Honouring our Lifeblood ceremony in Ottawa where she received an award for peer recruitment.

“It was an inspiring experience which motivated me to increase my efforts in supporting our country’s blood system.”