Blood donors still stepping up despite pandemic


  • <p>KEITH CORCORAN, PHOTO</p><p>Canadian Blood Services&#8217; donor care associate Charlene McCracken checks a prospective donor&#8217;s iron levels with a finger stick test during a public clinic June 23 in Cookville, Lunenburg County.</p>

With another national blood donor week in the rear-view mirror, the federally-regulated charity in charge of Canada's blood supply says donor support continues to be loyal and consistent despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long-time local donors, like Curtis Hirtle of West Northfield, said the process with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is fast and, more importantly, it helps people.

"You make an appointment and you're in-and-out in an hour," Hirtle told LighthouseNOW during a phone chat.

Hirtle, 68, is in a special club, having donated blood well over 100 times. He started the routine in his 30s and remains healthy enough to continue. He told LighthouseNOW he senses the importance of each donation as years go by.

His generosity became known on a national scale in 2006 when CBS honoured him at a national ceremony in Ontario for his donation of bone marrow. The marrow was used that year on a cancer patient in need of stem cells.

Hirtle later found out it was a teenager from Germany who received the marrow. They remain in contact. "He was doing well the last time we heard from him," Hirtle said. Lunenburg MLA at the time, Michael Baker, mentioned Hirtle's efforts in the House of Assembly where provincial lawmakers congratulated him "for the tremendous contribution he has made to save a life."

"Whether you have donated blood, plasma, stem cells, cord blood or financial gifts that have helped us increase our donor recruitment this year, we appreciate all donors for keeping Canada's lifeline strong," Rick Prinzen, a senior CBS official, explained in a recently released statement.

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