IN FOCUS STORY
His whole life, little Jérémy will need to receive blood products on a regular basis. He receives and will continue to receive the services of Héma-Québec. And yet, nothing brings him down, nothing diminishes his life force.
The only thing needed for Jonas Germana to make his first blood donation, was for a blood drive to be held at his workplace. The very day on which the blood drive was planned, a work colleague involved in organizing the event asked him if he would like to participate and thus contribute to saving lives. That was May 31, 2006.
For several years now, Michel Thérien has been getting attention due to his impressive record as a blood products donor. Already, in 2002, Reader’s Digest Select Editions devoted an article to him. The magazine met him when he was at his 650th donation, a milestone which granted him the title of Héma-Québec’s greatest donor. His performance was later covered by the Soleil newspaper, as well as on the waves of Radio-Canada, during the edition of World Blood Donor Day. Michel Thérien has now passed the milestone of 925 donations.
One can never put too much emphasis on how essential the efforts of volunteers are to fulfilling Héma-Québec’s mission. It is thanks to their dedication and great capacity for sharing if more than 2,000 blood drives are organized each year throughout the province. It is also thanks to their actions that Héma-Québec is able to meet the needs of hospital centres for blood products and thus, improve the quality of life of so many patients.
Héma-Québec can count on the active support of the Association of Blood Donation Volunteers (ABDV), which, since its inception in 1998, consists of an association representing blood donors and volunteers throughout Québec with 12 chapters across regional Québec. Hélène Darby has been president of the association since 2005 and is also a member of Héma-Québec’s Board of Directors.
|Dr Vincent Laroche|
Making the connection between blood product donors and recipients, there is obviously Héma-Québec, but also, hospital centres and their blood bank. What significance does a blood donation have for a hematologist, who is also a blood bank director? “A blood donation is a treasure. When we look around, we realize how fortunate we are, here, in Québec. We rarely need to postpone or cancel treatments due to a shortage of blood products. In the United States, for example, in many places, scheduled surgeries are delayed because there is a scarcity of blood products. One of the reasons behind our situation is without a doubt the generosity of donors here,” explains Dr. Vincent Laroche.