Across Canada

Honourable Theresa Oswald, Health Minister of Manitoba with Graeme Fortlage, 2012 Assignment Saving Lives student recruiter.

Graeme Fortlage is taking his summer volunteer commitment seriously. As a student recruiter, he asked someone who is a leader in health care to give blood: the Honourable Theresa Oswald, Minister of Health for Manitoba.

This July, the second-year University of Manitoba student personally called Minister Oswald and she agreed to donate at the Winnipeg blood donor clinic. A dedicated donor for the past 20 years, Minister Oswald spent much of her visit getting to know Graeme and helping him with a strategy to get more donors.

“Don’t stop with me. Why not call other ministers, MLAs and city councillors for support,” says Minister.

This is only the second time Graeme has participated in Assignment Saving Lives, but he’s been aware of the importance of donating blood for many years.

“My mom has been bringing me to the centre every time she donates blood ever since I was three years old, so it’s sort of always been a part of my life,” he said. “I also had two aunts who went in for surgery for cancer and they both required blood transfusions, which spurred me on and got me more involved with Canadian Blood Services,” says Graeme Fortlage, Assignment Saving Lives student recruiter.

This summer more than 100 Manitoba students participated in Assignment Saving Lives for a chance to win an academic bursary for their efforts.  In 2011, there were 1,000 blood donations collected through the program – that’s just over 10 per cent of the amount of blood needed in Manitoba over the summer of 2012.