If you’ve looked through this website, or read any of my blurbs about what I’m doing then you know that “Row for Blood” refers to the awareness and fundraising campaign that I am doing for Canadian Blood Services by rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. I have a personal connection for choosing this organization. Recently, my dad, who’s 73, received the diagnosis of acute leukemia. I’m sure there’s more medical words that go along with that, but, basically I was told that it’s pretty serious. He’s taking a chemo pill and he gets blood transfusions on a weekly basis. He was told that he has three months to a year to live. We are rapidly approaching the anniversary of that diagnosis and, with a tear in my eye, I imagine the possibilities of just how far beyond their grave prediction he might live. It’s death, so we never really know. And in the meantime, I’m grateful that Canadian Blood Services exists so that he can get his regular blood transfusions and stay alive.
Ever since deciding to highlight Canadian Blood Services I’ve come to learn so much about it and all the great things they do. They literally save lives. Whether it’s blood needed due to trauma, surgery, cancer treatment, or transfusions, the blood is there for anyone and everyone in Canada. Not everyone is eligible to give blood, but everyone is eligible to get blood. I am eligible to give, so I’ll be sure to keep giving on behalf of all the people I know and love who cannot.
To see if you are eligible go to their newly revamped website: “Can I Donate?”
I recently had the pleasure of meeting with some staff and getting a tour of the main blood donation clinic at Oak St and 33rd in Vancouver. I saw their whole-blood donation clinic, plasma donation clinic, and their cord blood bank. The cord blood bank is the most fascinating new information for me. Up until recently, Canada did not have any umbilical cord blood collection or public banking systems in place. In fact, the whole project is still in development. Cord blood is collected from the umbilical cord after a baby is born and the stem cells are banked for use as treatment in MANY MANY different diseases, most notably cancer. Under some circumstances this would be a treatment for acute leukemia, like my dad has, but for him it’s not a viable option.
The campaign to raise money to establish this program over the next couple of years is called For All Canadians. Money is being raised to continue establishing the collection sites and the necessary facilities and standards of operation. Hopefully, this will move beyond the few collection centres it’s in now. It’s such an easy way to donate stem cells that are healthy, ethnically diverse (necessary to reflect our population), and normally discarded as waste. For more info go to: FAQ – Cord Blood
On my row I will be raising money for this campaign and Canadian Blood Services, in general. As thousands of people follow the image of my boat slowly crossing the Atlantic Ocean (tracking systems will be in place) and read about my progress and pain in my daily blog, they will also learn about Canadian Blood Services and the people who’s lives have been touched by this organization.
I’m working hard to gather together all the money needed to get me and my boat on the water and pointed towards the middle of the ocean. And once I’m out there all the work I put in to get myself physically across will serve the dual purpose of bringing attention and money to Canadian Blood Services.