blood bags

Donate Blood

One of the most awesome, simple and selfless ways you can help somebody is by being a blood donor. In 2008, at age 27, I was diagnosed with Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia. The doctors gave me 40-50% of surviving. Despite the odds, my doctors and I were determined to do everything in our power to beat my cancer.

One important piece outside our control, however, was the generosity of complete strangers willing to donate the blood I needed for regular transfusions. While undergoing my chemo, radiation and bone marrow transplant, getting blood transfusions was a common occurrence.

bone marrow transplant

Me, at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto during my bone marrow transplant.

Four years later I am completely cancer-free and loving life.

No matter how hard my doctors and I worked at my recovery, I would not be here if not for blood donors.

According to Canadian Blood Services,

“Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. In fact, according to a recent poll, 52 per cent of Canadians say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment. The good news is that one blood donation – in just one hour – can save a life.”

One of the challenges we are faced with here in Canada is an aging population. We currently have about 450,000 blood donors. But many regular donors are aging and may be unable to continue donating for health reasons. While the number of current donors could fall, patient needs continue to rise. As a result, we need to recruit 80,000 new donors to the cause every year.

Odds are you or someone you love will need blood products. When I was being treated I was so glad I was able to get the transfusions I needed. But I do remember on several occasions overhearing the doctors and nurses talking about blood shortages. We need to step up to make sure there is always enough blood supply on hand to treat the people we love. We would do anything to protect and care for the people we love. I think donating blood is part of the collective responsibility we have to each other.

To learn more about becoming a blood donor and to book an appointment, visit Canadian Blood Services or the blood donor organization in your country. And to read more personal stories of recipients thanking their donors, check out Canadian Blood Services’ creative website, “Thank Your Donor”

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Josh Martin
Josh Martin is the founder and chief blogger at Badge of Awesome. He lives in southwestern Ontario, Canada and is the author of "Misadventure Musings: Lessons learned from life's awesome and absurd moments" and "Going on a Bear Hunt: Five things cancer taught me about overcoming obstacles."

Comments

  1. Rob says:

    Thanks for this, Josh. I haven’t donated in a while and am now long overdue… thanks for the reminder. Also, so glad you’re still with us four years later, cancer-free and loving life. We’re pretty blessed to have you here and we owe some thanks to blood donors for the role they played. I’ll donate after this weekend. See you soon!

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