Big turnout for Delta, B.C. teen’s blood donation drive

Click to play video: 'Delta teen organizes blood donor drive to honour grandfather'
Delta teen organizes blood donor drive to honour grandfather
A Delta secondary student has taken the lesson learned when her grandfather was in the hospital and organized a blood donor drive at her school. Janet Brown reports. – Feb 20, 2024

Residents of Delta, B.C., turned out in droves to Delta Secondary School on Tuesday to donate at a blood drive spearheaded by a local student.

“I had no idea it would get this big. When I first reached out to blood services, I had no idea if we could do it,” Grade 12 student Teghan Papadopoulos told Global News.

The event was the result of Papadopoulos’ capstone project, an assignment Grade 12 students complete to sum up what they’ve learned in a particular area and where they hope to go with their education.

Click to play video: 'Canada needs more donors from Black communities, Canadian Blood Services says'
Canada needs more donors from Black communities, Canadian Blood Services says

Papadopoulos, who is headed to UBC Okanagan next year, wants to work in health care. But the idea was also inspired by a family health crisis.

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“My grandfather, in 2020, was hospitalized — liver failure, kidney failure — and he needed transfusions every day,” she said.

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“The idea came to me that it is so important to give blood and if I can help and if I get my community to help, then that is really important.”

Papadopoulos worked for a year with Craig Nielsen, a community development manager with Canadian Blood Services, to get the event off the ground.

“It has been amazing … we are booked up to 100 per cent,” he said.

The demand for blood and blood products in the health-care setting is both immense and constant.

“The key to remember is blood products … that are used in hospital settings only last for 42 days, it’s something we need to replenish constantly,” Nielsen said.

“One in two people in their lifetime will either know somebody or need blood products themselves.”

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Donor and recipient form life-long friendship, reunite to mark 20 years since transplant

According to research by Canadian Blood Services, just over half of Canadians are capable of donating, but only about four per cent of that group actually do.

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Nielsen said that was what was so valuable about Papadopoulos’ project — not only did it collect blood, but it also offered a chance to educate her peers about the value and need for blood donations.

Trudy Whitehurst, a long-time donor, was first in line at Tuesday’s event.

“When I had to have surgery one time I had to have three pints of blood. So I just keep doing it in case there is somebody like me,” she said.

“It only pinches for a second, and you could save somebody’s life.”

You can find out more about how to donate blood at the Canadian Blood Services website.

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