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Canadian Blood Services opens alternating Saturdays to encourage donations

Gerard B.du Coudray donates blood for his 125th time at the Canadian Blood Services office on Dilworth Drive Tuesday. - Wade Paterson/Capital News
Gerard B.du Coudray donates blood for his 125th time at the Canadian Blood Services office on Dilworth Drive Tuesday.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Gerard B.du Coudray is no stranger to the Canadian Blood Services office on Dilworth Drive.

He stops by every 56 days to give an hour of his time and a pint of his blood.

B.du Coudray hit a milestone Tuesday when he sat down to give his 125th donation.

"I started in 1970 back in South Africa and it stuck with me. One pint (can) save three lives," said B.du Coudray.

"I think donating is a good idea—for me, it's a long-term commitment."

Although B.du Coudray isn't the only Kelowna resident to hit the 125 mark, Ariella Eini, donor services manager with Canadian Blood Services, said the milestone is "quite an achievement."

"A healthy donor can donate once every 56 days, so that's about six times a year if you're really consistent about it," said Eini.

"So 125 donations probably represents at least 20 years of donation."

Canadian Blood Services is eager to find more donors like B.du Coudray. The organization recently decided to open its doors every other Saturday to help increase donations.

"The summer tends to be a really difficult time of year for us. . .we tend to see a bit of a drop-off in terms of our donor support.

"It coincides with the time of year when there's a higher incidence of traffic accidents. We work hard over the summer months to make sure our clinics are full."

Eini said that all donations are beneficial; however, Canadian Blood Services is especially interested in donors with blood type O negative.

"We're always in need of all blood types because we work closely with hospitals—since hospital patients have every blood type, we need every blood type.

"Blood type O negative is the universal donor, so their blood can go to any patient, no matter what their blood type is. They're only seven per cent of the population, so we're always on the lookout for them."

B.du Coudray said he wishes more people would understand the importance of donating their blood.

When asked what his message to those who haven't donated is, B.du Coudray said: "Take an hour to save a life."

Canadian Blood Services in Kelowna is located on Dilworth Drive. It is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and alternating Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next Saturday opening is Aug. 11, then Aug. 25.

Those interested in donating are encouraged to make an appointment beforehand, either by calling 1-888-2DONATE (2366283) or by visiting blood.ca.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

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