Last week, Lorrie Parent hit 75 blood donations in her lifetime.
She started at age 18, in her hometown of Selkirk, Man., while attending college.
At the time, she didn't have any major personal reasons for donating, she just felt it was something worthwhile. Since then, like most people, blood donations have touched her life personally.
"My mom had a surgery, and she needed 16 units," said Parent.
"Everybody walks into a hospital, and assumes there's blood there for them," she said. But this summer, Canadian Blood Services has put up their "Blood Signal," calling for new donors as the supply dips.
In the first two weeks of July, lower than expected amounts of blood were collected across the country.
"With summer activities and vacations we find that our booked appointments drop and looking out two weeks there's not enough relief in sight," said Ed Yee, director of donor and clinic services for the B.C. and Yukon region.
There is, however, no summer vacation from the need for blood products. People in surgeries, including emergency surgeries, along with cancer patients still need blood and blood products.
People like Parent are among the backbone of the donor system. Parent has been giving steadily throughout her life, from her teen years, through a move to the West Coast and taking brief breaks while having four children.
"This is sitting on a bed with a needle for five minutes," she said. It's no big deal for her - although she still can't watch the nurse put the needle in her arm.
Parent is also a volunteer coordinator for the clinic held at the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church. She got involved in volunteering when one of her daughters was in Pathfinders, a Scouting group. She arranged for the Pathfinders to act as Blood Drop mascots, wearing a big padded costume to promote donations.
From there, she's moved on to other tasks, including starting a Partners For Life donation program at her workplace, Power to Change.
Also last year, she was told she was a match for someone who needed an infusion of stem cells for a serious blood disorder. After five days of injections to promote the creation of more stem cells, she spent two days hooked up to a machine that filtered her blood for the cells. Parent doesn't consider any of it much of a sacrifice considering how valuable donations are.
"How sad would it be for someone to die, because they didn't take the time to go donate?" There are donor clinics regularly around Langley. To find the closest donation clinic to your home or workplace and to make an appointment, go to www.blood. ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
@ Copyright 2013