Meet an Ontario man going ‘all in all the time’ when it comes to giving blood

Click to play video: 'The need for blood donors remains high during the summer'
The need for blood donors remains high during the summer
The need for blood donors remains high during the summer – Jul 10, 2023

It was less than five years ago that Dan Polischuk made his first blood donation but the Kitchener man is set to mark a milestone Tuesday when he gives blood for a 50th time.

Polischuk, who works at Wilfrid Laurier University, first donated blood on Dec. 27, 2018, after drawing inspiration from a newspaper article about a car crash he had read.

“There was a family that was really affected and needed a blood transfusion,” he explained. “I come from a tight-knit family and that really hit home for me. Next step is: if I were ever in that position, I’d want to be able to rely on those resources like blood to be able to get through that.”

Polischuk said the “it’s in you to give” tagline from Canadian Blood Services advertisements popped into his consciousness and he was off and running.

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“I’ve always been one when I do something, I kind of go all in all the time,” he said. “So that’s why I’ve stuck with it all this time.”

In spite of his steadfast routine that followed the first of his 49 donations, he did not make his initial entrance into a donation centre with the idea of reaching any sort of milestones.

“It was just something that it was easy to do and I thought would be making at least a small impact,” Polischuk explained. “And hearing allot of the time, news reports coming through about how blood resources can get kind of low and desperate, it just kind of reinforced that I was doing the right thing.”

Click to play video: 'Group of students and parents come together to make Halifax’s largest group blood donation'
Group of students and parents come together to make Halifax’s largest group blood donation

That also spurred him onto continue his visits as he now done nine or 10 times per year for well over four years.

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Polischuk can’t point to many of the trips to Canadian Blood Services clinics as being more memorable as staff have treated him like “a rock star” every time he has visited.

“Truthfully, it’s above and beyond what I would expect because they’re so appreciative of you taking the time,” he said. “And everyone’s time is so valuable, especially these days.”

Polischuk, the sports information and communications coordinator with Laurier athletics & recreation , credited the school with a push for alumni, students and staff to donate and believes other employers should follow in its footsteps.

“I would encourage a lot of employers maybe to look at doing so because that’s one way to really get help, get the word out now and, you know, expanding that donation base,” he said.

Dan Polischuk makes visit No. 49. Wilfrid Laurier University

While he has continued his donations on a steady basis, he has not been able to talk his wife into coming along as she is afraid of needles.

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“I haven’t been able to turn the tide with her in terms of donating,” Polischuk explained, when asked about how he would encourage others to follow his lead. “Overall, I would just reinforce the point that you’ve got someone with you every step of the way. You’re never alone.”

But he did also note that as you walk through the door, staff from Canadian Blood Services are there to greet you and they stay at your side through every step of the process from check-in to checkout.

Over the short span Polischuk has been donating, the process for has morphed, becoming easier when Canadian Blood Services released an app.

“I just hop on my phone and book it that way,” he said. “And then I can keep track of everything too, by how much I’ve donated and how I found out or recalled when my first donation ever was. Full credit to them, for building that platform to keep track of everything too, and getting the updates, calendar reminders, which I definitely need from time to time with how busy the schedule gets.”

Polischuk said that the app will also allow users to get through the screening process in advance.

“I’m about 10 minutes in the chair and the quick stay for a snack and away I go,” he said.

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The offerings for a quick snack are varied enough to make any mouth drool.

“All the good stuff and I use that term literally because it’s all the sugary good stuff that we all want, right?” he said. “So chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, there’s got the salty stuff too, chips, pretzels,” he said. “I give them credit, they have a good variety but I’m a sucker for chocolate chip cookies and I’ve got a sweet tooth. So that’s where I usually trend towards.”

On Tuesday, when he reaches the 50 marker, he says he will mark the occasion with a special treat with his wife and four-year-old.

“I enjoy a good strawberry Cheesequake (Blizzard) at Dairy Queen,” he said. “I’ll probably go for a treat with my wife and our four-year-old daughter. And she’s she likes her ice cream, too.”

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