The family of Mark O’Connor, who passed away last summer from cancer, are asking family, friends, and the public to roll up their sleeves on April 13 for a blood drive in his honour at the recreation centre in Ormstown.
Melanie O’Connor says that her brother, who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer, was refused a blood transfusion several days before he died. “At the time, Héma-Québec’s blood banks were at a critically low level, which led hospitals to narrow their eligibility criteria for blood transfusions,” she says. “One of Mark’s last wishes was to highlight the importance of giving blood,” she explains, saying her family decided to mark what would have been his 40thbirthday this April by partnering with Héma-Québec to help make his wish come true.
O’Connor notes that as March is also colon cancer awareness month, she hopes the event will serve to raise awareness of the importance of donating blood but also of paying attention to your health in general. She points out that colonoscopies are not regularly done for younger individuals, and in her brother’s case, by the time the symptoms were apparent, it was too late.
The objective for the blood drive, which will take place between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. in Ormstown, is to receive 125 donors. Following the pandemic, Héma-Québec requests that donors book an appointment to avoid waiting in line and to make the experience of giving blood easier for everyone.
Those interested in donating can call 1-800-343-7264 to reserve an appointment. It is also possible to reserve online at www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/trois-facons-simples.en.html. (SR)