Police officers, paramedics and firefighters in our community are rolling up their sleeves and giving blood this month in support of Uniforms Unite to Save Lives.
At a blood donor clinic today, running from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Spirit and Life Centre in Chatham, emergency personnel turned out in force for the sixth annual event organized by C-Kent Police Service officers Renee and Doug Cowell in honour of their late infant daughter, Bailey, who received a heart transplant and 140 units of blood products at Sick Kids’ Hospital in Toronto. April 12 is Bailey’s birthday she passed away May 21.
The Cowells have been advocates of tissue, organ and blood donation.
“We’ve always been supporters and encourage people to be tissue and organ donors after death, but we thought what can we do now as living, breathing people and we wanted to help Canadian Blood Services promote blood donation,” Renee said at the clinic. “Our goal is to get 140 units of blood donated.”
Doug donates blood every 56 days, and as someone with a unique blood type, he is in high demand as a donor, Renee said.
Stephanie Wilson, Territory Manager with Canadian Blood Services, said there is always a need for blood, but nationally right now the number of units on hand is way below what is needed.
“Generally, we like to have 20,000 units on hand nationally, but right now there are only 12,000 units,” Wilkinson said. “Ideally, we need 100,000 new donors to join each year to keep up with demand.”
The clinic was busy, and two more of five clinics are set up for this month – April 23 in Chatham at the Chatham Polish Club on Inshes Avenue from 9 a.m. to noon, and April 25 at the Dresden Arena from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Members of the public are welcome and can go to Canadian Blood Services online to book a donation time at blood.ca.