Rallying Together

CTV Edmonton journalist Erin Isfeld admits to being inspired on a daily basis by the people she meets. She prides herself on introducing her viewers to strong and courageous people who encourage them to do great things themselves. Her friend Holly’s experience after the birth of her daughter led to Erin’s desire to create her own “something great.”

In Mar. 2010, Holly Plante and her husband Mike had a daughter named Hope. Two weeks later, Holly experienced severe hemorrhaging and was rushed to hospital for treatment. Over the next two days, Holly needed several units of blood, replacing nearly one third of her blood volume.

“I remember the feeling of the blood when it went into my veins,” Holly recalls. “It was so cooling and I remember thinking about how it was going to make me stronger. As I was recovering, I remember every morning feeling grateful for that.”

Erin had been a blood donor for several years but her friend’s experience prompted her to reach out to Canadian Blood Services to help advocate for those in need. And so, last October’s “Giving Hope” campaign was born.

“As a journalist, I have a responsibility to the community to provide awareness wherever possible,” says Erin. “‘The Giving Hope’ campaign is my way of giving back to those who saved my friend’s life and planting an idea in the minds of others who have never given blood.”

Community support prompted organizers to challenge viewers to make 4,900 donations for the 2012 campaign. This was the number of donations needed to meet hospital demand in central and northern Alberta for the month. In pursuit of this goal, Erin and her crew spent much of October at the Edmonton clinic gathering stories to share with their viewers. Each story spoke to the pride and commitment of people regularly donating blood without regard for accolades or awards. Ongoing promotion through CTV Edmonton and social media helped engage donors.

One of the brightest moments came on the campaign’s last day. On Oct. 31, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and several members of her cabinet made an unprecedented visit to the Edmonton clinic to donate in support of the campaign. Although many of the members hadn’t donated in years, each donation ended with a vow to return. In the end, CTV viewers showed their support by making a grand total of 5,124 donations.

The person who inspired the campaign is very proud of her amazing friend Erin and the great things she has accomplished. Holly pledges to continue sharing her story as long as it can be of some help. She is also very grateful, saying “One thousand thank yous to the people who take the time to donate and to Canadian Blood Services for running such an amazing organization.”

What’s next? Despite the accomplishments of the last three years, Erin is confident that more can be done. Ideas are already percolating for next year. According to Erin, “The sky is the limit; we will continue to build on our partnership with Canadian Blood Services, telling the stories of donors, recipients and the need for this life-saving gift.”


CTV journalist Erin Isfeld discusses the Giving Hope Campaign