| Apr 19, 2007


Feature Article - April 12, 2007

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Feature Article - April 12, 2007

101 Blood Donations

by Jeff Green

Dave McCourt is about as enthusiastic an advocate for blood donation as there is.

He began donating blood when he was a 16-year-old high school student, and kept on donating throughout his teaching career in Scarborough, taking necessary breaks as the result of trips he made to Africa over the years.

When he retired to Arden with his wife Sheila six years ago, he began donating on a more regimented basis in Kingston, every 55 days or so. This week he came up to donation number 100, which he made at a blood donor clinic at St. James Church in Sharbot Lake in order to encourage his friends and neighbours to begin donating blood.

In honour of Dave’s 100th donation, his wife Sheila made her first donation on the same day.

“It’s important to be socially responsible and get involved in community,” Dave McCourt said has he prepared for his needle, “It’s easy to make a donation.”

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Giving blood has changed since Dave McCourt first donated 45 years ago. “It used to be the Red Cross, and now it’s Canadian Blood Services who deal with donations,” Dave said, “blood is tested and there is a questionnaire that has to be filled out. There are questions about sexual behaviour that are pretty explicit, but they are necessary because of AIDS and other diseases. I have no problem with them because I’m used to them. I just fill the form out and off I go.”

Donors are also interviewed by a nurse before they donate to ensure they are not at risk of contracting AIDS or hepatitis

It is not as easy for women to give blood than it is for men, because blood is tested for iron levels before people can donate, and women tend more towards anemia. This has stopped Sheila McCourt from giving blood in the past, but on this occasion her iron level was high enough, and as Dave gave his 100th pint, she was able to give her first, as planned.

The community blood donor clinic in Sharbot Lake has been up and running for a few years now, and the bulk of the donors book their time in advance. This past Monday, the late winter storm that caused white outs in the morning had abated by the time the clinic was set up at 3:00, and most of the 36 people who had reserved a time arrived to make their donations.

The local Lions Club has been supporting blood donations and helping with promotion, and Lions members were on hand to give juice and drinks to the donors.

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