Many people heading to a blood clinic go with the intention to give, but in Regina they’ll leave with so much more thanks in part to Dr. James Parker.
The senior has been volunteering at the Canadian Blood Services‘ donor clinic on Broad Street for years, serving snacks and juice in the refreshment room.
“They always come out happy and I want them to leave here happy too,” he said.
Fondly known as ‘Dr. James,’ the former high school principal volunteers once a week and is well known among regular donors.
“He’s kind of a staple around here,” said Brett Kitchen who’s been donating for more than nine years. “He’s just a friendly guy, he’s always there to lend a hand and gives you whatever he has on hand.”
Parker’s jokes and contagious grin are also appreciated by the clinic staff.
“We love having him around. He’s a neat guy and really passionate about what he does too,” said registered nurse Sheila Allan.
The longtime volunteer began offering his time at the clinic after entering retirement, but says his desire to give back is driven by his own experiences. He is now 20-years cancer free and knows all too well the need for blood donors.
“I hope they have fun with me because that’s what life’s all about, it’s enjoying each other and respecting each other.”
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Aaron Barlow with Canadian Blood Services says the need for blood is constant but heightened over the holiday season.
The agency is looking for 30,000 donors across the country including more than 700 in Saskatchewan by the new year.
“If we are behind in our appointments then there will be a shortcoming in what we collect in center and mobile donor centers and we might fall behind where we need to be to meet that need,” explained Aaron Barlow, Regina’s territory manager in donor relations at Canadian Blood Services.
The agency is counting on donors to fill the vacant spots by Jan. 6 and if you’re at the clinic in Regina you can count on Parker.
“This is an enjoyable thing when you think of what you’re doing for others,” he said.
To book an appointment or find a donor clinic you can visit Canadian Blood Services.