Across Canada

How can high school students give life? Just ask any of the students from the 417 high schools across the country who participated in Canadian Blood Services’ Young Blood for Life program last year. They donated nearly 19,000 units of blood and recruited over 5,000 new donors.

Young Blood for Life is an annual, nationwide, student-led challenge that provides a fun way to increase the number of blood donations, first-time donors, and stem cell registrants among students aged 17 and older. Thanks to a partnership between Canadian Blood Services and FedEx Express, last year participating schools had the chance to win local, provincial and national prizes based on the number of units of blood collected.

With a total of 499 donations, Calgary’s William Aberhart High School captured the honour for most donations nationally, while Banting Memorial, of Alliston, Ontario, recruited 117 first-time donors for the national new donor award.

“New donors are the key to meeting the future need for blood in this country, especially in light of Canada’s aging population,” says Mark Donnison, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of donor relations. “This challenge gives young people a chance to experience something incredible — the power to give life.”

“Thanks to the participation of FedEx Express, Young Blood for Life helps replenish the blood supply and increase the number of donors for the future.”

FedEx Express Canada began sponsoring the Young Blood for Life program in 2011, funding promotional materials and national and regional awards for blood donation and new donor recruitment.

One might wonder what would motivate high school students to care about blood donation. Like other blood donors, in many cases, it’s who they know — more than half of all Canadians have either needed blood or known someone who has.

High school student Jenn Oakes of Calgary experienced the need first-hand when she lost the bottom half of her right leg in a boating accident last summer. She lost 75 per cent of her blood volume because of the accident and needed almost 100 units to replace it.

“It was a vital part of saving my life,” said Jenn.

A William Aberhart High School student and athlete, Jenn joined the kick off to this year’s Young Blood for Life challenge. In addition to helping celebrate her school’s accomplishments, she shared her story to encourage fellow students to give blood and help others survive similar emergencies.

Over the past six years, Canadian Blood Services has collected almost 99,000 blood donations and recruited more than 35,000 new donors with the Young Blood for Life challenge. The students also benefit by building communication, organizational and leadership skills that will be invaluable as they pursue their career goals.


Cord Blood Donation video

Injured Calgarian hopes to inspire other teens to help save lives (Global News video)

Learn more about Young Blood for Life