WATCH: Donating blood is a small act that can make all the difference in saving a life. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Celeste Parrott was teaching in Columbia when she received news that would forever change her life.
“It was pretty clear that something was wrong with all of my body,” explained Parrott. “When I was 29 I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.”
She immediately underwent five rounds of high dose chemotherapy.
Helping to keep her symptoms at bay, was a gift, given by complete strangers.
“I received close to 115 units of blood products,” said Parrott. “Blood products were a big part of what made it possible for me to survive treatment.”
Now cured from her cancer, Parrott is urging others to donate blood.
“It’s literally within your power to change a life and that’s a pretty amazing gift to be able to give.”
Urgent need for donations
While 50 per cent of Canada’s population is eligible to donate blood, only four per cent do.
“The number of units that people need in hospitals is stunning,” explained territory manager Ann Chabert of the Canadian Blood Services.
“Sometimes one patient in a surgery can take up a whole day of us collecting from donors at the clinic.”
The start of the summer season and long weekends are a particularly bad time for the agency, yet the need is extremely high.
The Canadian Blood Services is hoping to collect at least 150,000 donations by Canada Day.
Donate blood on Victoria Day
The clinic of at 3449 Saanich Road across from Uptown Mall is holding a drop in clinic from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Victoria Day.
“It’s a long weekend and a lot of people are out of town and our regular donors are off,” said Chabert. “It would be a good thing to do on Victoria Day.”
The whole process takes less than an hour and donations are welcome from all eligible donors.
“I just lost a cousin this week,” said regular donor Mody Bossy. “It reminded me to come in honour of him and hopefully give the gift of life to somebody else.”
It’s a gift that truly does give life and the greatest gift Parrott will ever receive.
“I practice gratitude,” said Parrott. “[I spend] lots of time just being grateful for what I have and that I’m here.”