First woman reaches the exceptional mark of 1,000 blood donations in Québec

Québec City, December 14, 2015—A blood donor in the Québec City area, Ms. Laureen Corcoran, was recognized for her 1,000th donation today at the GLOBULE Blood Donor Centre in the Laurier Québec shopping centre. She is the first woman to have accomplished such a feat in Québec.

This outstanding donor made blood donation part of her lifestyle about thirty years ago. Born deaf, she has always been sensitive to others and to social involvement. She has been a diligent donor since 1987, regularly giving plasma at the GLOBULE Laurier Québec.

The President and CEO of Héma-Québec, Serge Maltais, praised this rare accomplishment, presenting the donor with a commemorative medal this morning. Welcoming the first woman into the one-thousand blood donations club is a great moment in the history of this noble cause in Québec. Our work at Héma-Québec consists in maintaining the vital bond of solidarity between the donor and recipient. Every blood donation counts, but an achievement such as that of Laureen Corcoran makes her a special ambassador for blood donation,” stated Mr. Maltais.

“This extraordinary woman is a pioneer in Québec. Reaching this record number of donations deserves all our admiration. Hopefully she will inspire many women to follow in her footsteps,” added Me Smaranda Ghibu, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs.

Ms. Corcoran, who is 78 years old, combines her impressive career as a donor with several volunteer activities. Retired from the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, she has worked as a full-time volunteer in several organizations for some twenty years. She is actively involved in the Québec City area deaf community and participates in all of its activities. But her commitment does not stop at the deaf community. She is also involved in several activities in hearing society, including Opération Nez rouge, for which she has worked for 25 years. This energetic woman’s volunteer involvement is such that she was designated Bénévole en action de l’année 2005 (2005 volunteer in action) for the Capitale- Nationale region as part of the Hommage bénévolat-Québec awards.  

It should be noted that Ms. Corcoran joins the ranks of other donors who have reached the 1,000 donations mark in Québec since 2009: Michel Thérien, Jacques Paquin, Jean Bernier, James Lambert, Jacques Chouinard and André Labbé. These six donors, who were also on site at the Laurier shopping centre GLOBULE this morning, wished to welcome the donor into their group of great ambassadors of blood donation. Together, the seven donors in attendance have made over 7,500 donations to date.

1,000 blood donations: How is it possible?

Blood is made up of a liquid, plasma, which carries three types of cells: red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Each of these components plays a specific role. Consequently, when patients are transfused, they do not receive whole blood, but rather the one or more components that they need.

Nearly eight times out of ten, these blood products come from a whole blood donation collected at one of the many mobile blood drives organized throughout the province. But sometimes people choose to give only plasma, platelets or red blood cells. To do so, they must visit one of the GLOBULE Blood Donor Centres in Québec City, Saguenay, Laval, Brossard or Montréal. The PLASMAVIE Plasma Donor Lounges in Trois-Rivières and Saguenay also offer these types of collections. All these centres are equipped with specialized devices for the selective collection of blood components.

How does a single donor manage to make more than 1,000 donations? The answer to this question lies in the type of donation made. All donors who have accumulated more than 1,000 blood donations have given by apheresis. This type of donation is performed using a device that receives the donor’s blood, separates it into its various components, sends the one or more desired components to a donation bag and returns the components that have not been selected to the donor. In other words, this is a collection technique that consists in collecting blood components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) in a selective manner.

The possible frequency of donations by apheresis is much greater than that of whole blood. By donating platelets by apheresis, you can help save patients’ lives up to 24 times per year. In fact, a platelet donation can be made every 14 days. The body can produce millions of platelets per minute. The extraordinary rate at which platelets can be regenerated therefore allows donors to quickly regain their normal blood count. The same goes for plasma. A plasma donation by apheresis can be done every 6 days, i.e., up to 50 times per year. In comparison, only 6 whole blood donations can be done per year. 

About Héma-Québec

Héma-Québec’s mission is to efficiently meet the needs of Québec population for safe, optimal-quality blood and blood products, human tissues, cord blood, mother’s milk and cellular products; to develop and provide expertise and specialized, innovative services in the field of human biological products. Héma-Québec encompasses 1,300 employees, some 3,000 blood drives and more than 160,000 blood donors every year, 16,000 volunteers and more than 500,000 blood products delivered annually to Québec hospitals to meet the needs of patients.

Give blood. Give life.

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