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Kelowna  

Give life, donate blood

It’s in you to give; however, not everyone donates.

Canadian Blood Services is reaching out to residents who have never donated blood before and asking them to consider giving. Because you never know whose life could be saved with a blood donation.

Gayle Voyer, with Canadian Blood Services’ British Columbia and Yukon region, says 50,000 donors are needed nationally between now and the end of June, with an average of 45 to 60 donors giving blood in Kelowna each week.

“That is equivalent to 2,000 new donors in Kelowna this year," she said. "Across the country we need 100,000 new donors nationally, so that is a pretty big number.”

The hope is National Blood Donor Week, which kicked off June 13, will get new donors to sit down, roll up their sleeves and give blood.

Kelowna resident Amanda Sweeney knows the true value of giving blood after her mother’s life was saved thanks to several donations.

“Four years ago, last Tuesday, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and during that entire process ended up needing a double mastectomy,” she explained. “A routine operation didn’t turn out so routine.”

Sweeney’s mother was put into critical care and needed 11 units of blood.

“I can absolutely say that without those people who took 40 minutes of out their day to donate, those 11 people, she wouldn’t be here,” said a grateful Sweeney, adding she too is now a blood donor.

One of those people who gives whenever they can is Alexander Duncan. He has donated blood since he was just 16 years old and has now given more than 100 times.

“All it’s going to cost me is a little bit of time and if I can help somebody that is great. Plus, I wanted to see how it was done,” he said of the reason he first gave so many years ago.

In Kelowna, the Canadian Blood Services tries to get 100 people in the door each day that they are open.

“In our population we have had a number of people who have thought about stopping, they see our sign, but they haven’t made a commitment,” said Voyer. “I just encourage them to just walk through the doors and we make it really easy from that point on.”

National Blood Donor Week runs until June 18 and those who donate are encourage to post their experience to social media using the hashtag #givelife.

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