For the fourth consecutive year the Ottawa Senators partnered with Canadian Blood Services to host the annual “Sens Big Save” campaign. Numerous events were held throughout the week of Dec. 5 to 9 to recruit donors and raise awareness of the need for blood. The goal for the week was to recruit 1,200 donors in Ottawa and surrounding communities.

Quite a buzz was created as a result of the campaign. During the kick-off event on Dec. 6, at the Ottawa blood donor clinic on Carling Avenue, Ottawa Senators players Nick Foligno, Shaun Van Allen, Patrick Lalime and Todd White were present to thank donors and sign autographs. Team mascot Spartacat also made an appearance to engage donors and amuse them.

Guests and donors also heard the story of blood recipient, Jacob Arseneault. Faith, Jacob’s mother, delivered an emotional speech on her family’s current journey. In September 2011, 12-month-old Jacob was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma of the left kidney. Over the next several months, Jacob will be undergoing numerous and intense treatments. As part of his treatments, he will be receiving blood transfusions.

“Cancer is a disease that one person alone cannot fight,” says Faith. “It is something which many, many people have to come
together for in order for one individual to survive. There are doctors, nurses and radiologists and many other hospital staff; there is Jacob himself and there are also strangers who selflessly give blood so that Jacob can have one more day, one more chance to fight back at this and to survive.”

On Dec. 7, Canadian Blood Services hosted more than 400 blood donors and sponsors at the 4th Annual Blood Donor Appreciation Night. The Senators played against the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place, and, as promised to blood donors the day before Nick Foligno scored a goal.

Platinum sponsors for the events during the Sens Big Save included Roche, Onx/EMC, Bayer and Grifols. On Dec. 8, a Bloodmobile was held at Scotiabank Place where Senators President Cyril Leeder donated blood.

The week was extremely successful with just under 1,400 units of blood collected, exceeding expectations by almost 200 units. One thing is clear: rallying together as a team to reach a goal does indeed make a difference. It saves countless lives!