Community Development Coordinators, Larissa Kennedy Chan, Jhoanna DelRosaro and Lisa Castro.

Across Canada

Recognition is a big deal at Canadian Blood Services. We can never say thank you enough to our volunteers, partners, sponsors and donors who return to our clinics time and time again. By donating blood, plasma, platelets, stem cells as well as their time, they light up the lives of all of those they touch. If you have ever received blood, blood products, or stems cells, you know the feeling. These gifts mean that many Canadians can go on with their lives and shine. It’s because of the contribution of these dedicated people and organizations, that a bright future is possible.

Each year, from April to June, local Honouring Our Lifeblood (HOL) events recognize and thank our milestone donors and volunteers, OneMatch donors, and other partners and supporters. We thank them not only for their donations, but also for bringing smiles through our doors, for sharing their personal stories , for understanding when we run a bit late in clinic, and for recruiting others to join them. Yet, we have a problem: most of them don’t want to hear that dreaded phrase “thank you.”

They may not want to hear it, but numbers don’t lie. This year, we had 9,924 milestone donors representing 784,325 donations, 654 volunteers and groups, 97 stem cell donors, not counting the many partners and supporters who were honoured at 43 events from coast to coast. It is surely a busy time for Donor and Clinic Services staff and volunteers. If you do the math, each event would have over 250 attendees. In reality, many choose not to attend, as helping those in need by donating blood or their time are reason enough to continue to support us.

This year, in addition to the HOL speeches and awards, we gave everyone a chance to inspire others by sharing the stories of how they got involved with Canadian Blood Services. At each event, the attendees received luminary bags and pens, and were asked to take some time to reflect. Here are some of the messages we gathered:

“While I was giving my 50th donation, my cousin’s son received blood while in surgery. I was happy to know I was helping in my own way, giving blood to help others.”

“Giving is addictive. Everyone is friendly and you get great treats after. Makes me feel good inside to know I’ve helped save a life… I can’t wait to do it again!”

“My father donated for many years and encouraged me to follow. At 200 donations, I’m still doing it in his memory.”

“To all in the future, you may receive some of my NEXT 75 donations. I was happy to help.”

“My journey started many years ago when my eldest daughter was born and I needed 9 pints of blood the day she arrived. I now donate and encourage others to do the same.”

“I donate to be a CANADIAN. Helping others is what we do.”

To great emotional response, the messages were put on display at the events. These luminary bags were also used as the centerpieces at the National Honouring Our Lifeblood ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on September 10th. They symbolized the efforts of all supporters, nationwide who work together towards a common goal – saving and improving lives.