It’s difficult to say just how many lives Phyllis Brady and Deb Wiltshire have saved over the years. Many, no doubt. Combined, this giving duo has donated blood or plasma more than 110 times since they became regular donors.
Considering that it can take five units of blood (or donors) to save someone who needs heart surgery, or eight units a week to help someone with leukemia, or a staggering 50 units of blood to help someone in a car accident, Deb and Phyllis are indeed dedicated lifesavers.
Above: Deb Wiltshire, Director, Veterans Care, gives her regular plasma donation at Canadian Blood Services while Phyllis Brady, Coordinator, Patient Relations, awaits her turn. Phyllis and Deb are major contributors to St. Joseph's annual blood donation goal as participants in Partners for Life.
As participants in the Partners for Life program at St. Joseph’s, Phyllis, Coordinator, Patient Relations, and Deb, Director, Veterans Care, are key players in helping the organization reach an annual blood donation target. For 2013 that target is 300 donations.
St. Joseph’s joined Partners for Life – a Canadian Blood Services initiative - in March 2012 as yet another way for the organization to live its mission to minimize the effects of injury, disease and disability and build partnerships that create a better health care system. The goal set for 2012 was a modest 50 blood donations, which was surpassed by more than 400 per cent. In total, St. Joseph’s staff, physicians and volunteers donated a total of 272 units last year.
“Through Partners for Life, our staff, physicians and volunteers have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated their commitment to saving lives,” says St. Joseph’s president and CEO Dr. Gillian Kernaghan. “I congratulate them and now challenge them to roll up their sleeves to reach our new target. It’s such an important way to be part of and give back to the community.”
Phyllis has been a regular blood donor since 2003 and started donating plasma in 2011. In total, she has donated 58 times. “The great thing about donating plasma is that the process removes the plasma and then returns the red blood cells to my body. No feeling of weakness or light headedness. And it’s possible to donate plasma 50 weeks a year.”
Phyllis’ inspiration is the stories of people whose lives have been saved thanks to blood donations. “I am aware of a person who received about 200 units of blood/blood products after trauma and survived. Many years ago my grandfather needed transfusions. In those days families had to find persons to donate blood to replace the number of units used. This experience led my father to a lifetime of donating blood. He too is an inspiration.”
For Deb, who has donated 53 times since 2009, being a blood donor is a way of giving back to the community, particularly the health care community. These days she donates plasma every one to two weeks.
“Canadian Blood Services are grateful for the donation and show this in each visit,” says Deb. “I set a target last year to reach 50 donations by the end of 2012 and met this target. For 2013 I’m hoping to reach 75 donations.”