Let me introduce you to my most recent hero. This is Mario Abrams. He is married to my sister’s daughter Katrina and they have two active and vibrant girls. They make their home in Halifax and have jobs that involved a lot of travel before COVID but are now very much home-bound.
Throughout the years I have only seen Mario as a fun-loving, creative, young man with a terrific sense of humor. He can be counted on to be the heart of the party when the family gathers for events.
As a side-story, Katrina and Mario are survivors of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami that killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. They were vacationing in Phuket, Thailand (pronounced “POO-ket”) at the time. Mario says of the experience, “When we got back to the hotel after a day on top of a small mountain (no food/drink and we had no choice and had to hike up it), we saw the map on CNN of the impacted areas. Seven countries and one city were highlighted – Phuket was the city! That’s when it really hit!”
For the first time, last week Mario made his first blood donation at Canadian Blood Services in Halifax. It makes me beam with pride that he decided to give a little of his time, answer some pretty personal lifestyle questions, allow a talented nurse to put a needle in his arm, and then enjoy a few treats in order to share the gift of life.
You may not know that I became a regular donor after 9/11 and switched from blood to plasma several years ago. There is a slightly bigger need for plasma and platelets than whole blood in Canada. Although my cancer prevents me from donating now or in the future, I did rack up 343 donations since getting started. You might see that as a huge number but there are many regulars who are closing in on a thousand donations during their lifetimes.
You can think about your donation as a “pay if forward” contribution. I didn’t expect to need blood but since 2020 have drawn six units from the bank. I guess it’s fair to say what goes around comes around.
About Canadian Blood Services
Together, with donors, recipients, employees, partners, and volunteers, we are Canada’s lifeline. Our role is to provide lifesaving products and services in transfusion and transplantation for Canadian patients and to safeguard Canada’s systems of life essentials in blood, plasma, stem cells, and organs and tissues. (1)
About 4% of Canadians are regular blood donors. This just allows Canada to be self-sufficient on a regular basis but not if there was a crisis adding an unexpected demand. That happens around the Christmas holidays every year and ironically donations tend to drop off at the same time while people travel to spend time with family members in other locations.
If you have been thinking about donating blood, this would be an ideal time to book an appointment online at www.blood.ca or calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).