National blood donor week
A Terrific Sharing Chain!
Montréal, June 9, 2008 – As part of the very first edition of National Blood Donor Week, taking place June 9 to 15, 2008, Héma-Québec wants to remind everyone of the importance of giving blood and thank all the people who contribute to blood donation.
Decreed by the Parliament of Canada last February, this week will set the tone for World Blood Donor Day, celebrated on June 14 in more than 80 countries around the world. The first edition of National Blood Donor Week, which is part of World Blood Donor Day, is themed Many Happy Returns, Give Blood Frequently. This very special week is in fact the occasion to pay homage to blood, plasma and platelet donors as well as volunteers for their generosity, profound sense of civic responsibility and their commitment to blood donation.
“Blood donation relies entirely on the generosity of people willing to share their most precious possession: their health. National Blood Donor Week is the ideal occasion to raise people’s awareness of this important cause and encourage them to give blood regularly. We have to keep reminding people that blood is needed every day and that giving blood is the easiest way of saving lives,” stated Dr. Francine Décary, President and Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.
Héma-Québec will be highlighting this first edition of National Blood Donor Week in various ways across Quebec, including with the introduction of a special motion at the National Assembly on June 11 by Minister of Health and Social Services Philippe Couillard.
“The need for blood is constant and the blood supply is a daily challenge to maintain the collective reserve managed by Héma-Québec for Québec’s hospitals and their patients. It goes without saying that we are lucky, here in Québec, to be able to rely on a terrific network of devoted partners, volunteers, donors and employees who make blood transfusions possible. On the occasion of this National Blood Donor Week, let’s say THANK YOU to everyone who plays a part in Québec’s blood supply system,” continued Dr. Décary.
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.