Students, parents, come together to make Halifax’s largest blood donation

A group of graduating high school students and their parents marked the end of the school year by doing their part in providing Canadian Blood Services with Halifax’s largest group blood donation on Saturday.

The students from Halifax West High School, calling themselves the “333 lifesavers,” said regularly donating blood together will be a way for them to stay in touch following high school while also giving back to their community.

The day kicked off with the group gathering for a healthy breakfast before the families and friends were brought to the donor centre on the Canadian Blood Service LifeBus.

Jocelyn Melanson, one of the parents who participated in the day’s activities, said the events were organized by close friend, Patti Martin.

“She’s been notorious through all of the kids’ lives for planning some great adventures together for all of the kids and parents to spend time,” she said. “And we know that there’s a big need for blood donations so it’s something that she combined the two ideas together and came up with this.”

Melanson said there will be 70 participants throughout the entire process, with about 56 donating on Saturday.

“It’s a way for us to get together and continue to get together in the years to come as they (the students) go on their separate journeys,” she said. “Gathering with a cause is what I like to call it.”

Melanson said with next week being National Blood Donor Week, which also runs parallel with World Blood Donor Day on June 14, she’s encouraging more groups of families or friends to come out and donate.

Jesse Mcginn, another graduating student, said he’d like to see this become a tradition for future graduating classes.

“We’re all going on after graduating to different things, some of us are going to the same university, some of us are doing other things, so it’s great to come together and do things like this before grade 12 is over,” he said, adding that it wasn’t the first time donating blood for many students.

Krysta Hanakowski, Halifax’s community development manager with the Canadian Blood Services, said the 333 lifesavers offered their first blood donation in March when a group of about 16 participated. She said interest continued to grow as they began planning their second donation.

“Now we’re at a group of almost 65 people coming up to donate which is a huge amount of blood that we need to collect today,” she said, noting that the large group contribution is a “great example” of the organization’s “Shine A Light” campaign, which is intended to draw attention to a current need for new donors.

Hanakowski said she hopes the group’s notable effort on Saturday will energize others to step up and give, as the Halifax location still has 400 appointments remaining to be filled between June and September.

“Having a group of teenagers now that already know the process of donating … this is the kind of thing that we need to help improve our blood donor levels and turn things around.”

— With files from Vanessa Wright

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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