Ottawa man gives blood for 150th time
An Ottawa man marked a milestone Thursday, donating blood for the 150th time.
"I am proud of it for sure," says 69-year-old Guy LeBlanc.
Guy LeBlanc first donated when he was 19 years old.
"It was at Carleton University and I thought it was something different," said LeBlanc.
He says it soon became part of his routine.
"It was a habit that I got into. When I graduated from Carleton, I went to Ottawa U and during those four years I worked as an orderly at the children’s hospital and that’s when I saw the real need for blood," said LeBlanc.
"My wife worked in the oncology ward, and I would go up and visit occasionally and I saw all the kids who really needed it and that is what strengthened my resolve to give as much as I could, as many times as I could.”
LeBlanc goes to the Canadian Blood Services clinic on Carling Avenue every 56 days - the minimum requirement between donations for men.
"They recognize me for sure!" he says.
LeBlanc says he doesn’t think about the number of people he has impacted during his decades of donating.
"They say something like for every donation you affect four people and that’s a nice number because that makes 600 people, but I don’t really think about it, it’s more like this is a habit I’ve grown into."
He encourages everyone to give.
"It is easy to do, it is one-hour chunk of your life and the people there are really, really nice."
Canadian Blood Services says it is extremely rare for someone to reach the 150-donation milestone like LeBlanc.
Gina Leyva is a spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services.
"Every time you donate blood you are the direct connection to saving someone’s life," said Leyva.
"Sometimes someone going through cancer treatment could require up to 10 donations each week, so for someone to donate blood 150 times, it is a huge and incredible milestone and definitely Guy has helped many, many people.”
Leyva says only four per cent of the eligible Canadian population donate blood.
Leyva says there is a shortage of donations during the winter, and the Carling Avenue Clinic was impacted by this week’s massive snowstorm.
"The clinic on Carling Avenue was open that day, but we were hoping to have 77 people donate and only 15 people were actually able to donate so that was really difficult heading into this week," said Leyva.
LeBlanc has inspired others to donate, including his son Jordan, who now goes with his dad to donate. He has donated 39 times.
Jordan LeBlanc says he is proud of his father.
"When my dad got to 148, 149 I started doing the math and its incredible – it is a lifelong commitment and it’s amazing my dad has been able to help so many people.”
Guy LeBlanc says he will continue to donate blood for as long as he is able to.
"One hundred and fifty is not my final number… I will continue to donate every 56 days.”
To learn more about how you can donate blood, click here.
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