Regular donors like Ray Hann are lifeblood of Canadian Blood Services
This is a part of a series of Guardian Angels features that we will be carrying in The Guardian over the month of December, leading up to Christmas. If you would like to suggest a good candidate for Guardian Angel, either give Guardian reporter Jim Day a call at 629-6000, ext. 6041 or send Jim an email at jdaytheguardian.pe.ca with the name and description of the person as well as contact information for that person.
Don’t make too much fuss over Ray Hann.
His regular gifts of life, he stresses, are not about getting a pat on the back.
He does not want recognition for his selfless act upon selfless act. He only wants to quietly make a difference one trip to the Canadian Blood Services at a time.
The first time Hann, 62, of Rice Point gave blood he was in his early 20s living in Newfoundland.
There is no dramatic story behind that initial push to roll up his sleeve. There was, however, a darn good reason for the donation: it’s the same one that continues to drive him to do so 40 or so years later.
“I just felt that you had something that people needed so you just did it,’’ he said.
“It’s as simple as that.’’
Hann made about 15 to 20 separate blood donations spread over his first 20-odd years of giving.
Since then, he has really picked up steam.
After living in Summerside and later Ontario, he moved to Charlottetown in 1993. The Charlottetown Blood Services was quite handy. He started beating a steady path to the door.
After giving blood for years, he switched to giving plasma. This allowed him to donate once a week rather than once every two months. For years now, every Thursday Hann shows up for his scheduled plasma donation.
He recently made his 200th donation of blood and plasma combined.
Lisa Rusk, community development coordinator with Canadian Blood Services in Charlottetown, says the Ray Hanns are valued, reliable donors.
“It makes our day when we see them coming in the door,’’ she said.
“We can count on them...they are just committed for whatever reason. They all have their own reason.’’
Rusk says for long-time, frequent donors, each subsequent unit donated is as important as the very first one that they gave. Donors like Hann are humble, adds Rusk. But their joy in giving such a precious gift is always evident.
They sport a quiet beam on their faces each time they leave.
“You feel good when you’re done - it’s instant,’’ said Rusk.
“How many times can you say you saved a life? You can’t say that every day.’’
Sadly, only four percent of Canadians who are eligible to be donors are actual donors.
“That’s a statistic that we’re really embarrassed about,’’ said Rusk.
“We have a few people that are carrying a great load.’’
People like Ewan Stewart of Stanhope, the top donor on P.E.I., who has tallied a remarkable 772 donations.
Rusk is quick to note that Islanders are on the higher end when it comes to the percentage of a province donating blood and plasma.
“We have a really committed donor base on P.E.I. but we need a bigger pool,’’ she said.
To be a Guardian Angel like Hann, Stewart and other Island donors, call 1-888-236-6283 to set up an appointment or visit www.blood.ca to book an appointment online.