Lethbridge College has received a major award from Canadian Blood Services. The college earned the Regional Partner Award for the Prairie Region at the annual Honouring Canada’s Lifeline event on Monday evening in Ottawa.
The college has supported Canadian Blood Services for over a decade, and has rallied its community to donate nearly 3,000 units of blood in that time. The college uses its platforms to promote Canadian Blood Services, including advertising on the digital sign on Scenic Drive; promoting blood donation on social media, including participation in the Missing Type campaign; and writing about blood donation in both Wider Horizons magazine and Connections internal newsletter.
“Our goal has been to make blood donation part of the culture for staff and students here at the college,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “We are training the next generation of front-line professionals including nurses, emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers – professions where blood donation is crucial for individuals to do their jobs and save lives. We consider blood donation a meaningful and enriching habit for many of our students, and we are honoured to be recognized by Canadian Blood Services.”
One unique way the college encourages blood donation is through its Culinary program. Every November, the food court menu is adapted to provide iron-rich foods to students and staff, and the change is publicized with a strong call-to-action to donate blood.
“A different option is offered daily,” says Sandra Dufresne, executive director of Advancement. “Meanwhile, we also include signs around campus, reminding people to donate and letting them know they can get a good iron-rich meal before or after their donation.”
The college was one of two Lethbridge-based winners at the national awards, as the Boulet family earned the Schilly Award in recognition of their efforts to promote organ and tissue donation in recognition of their son Logan, who died as a result of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Logan had previously told his parents, Toby and Bernadine, that he wanted to donate his organs and his story led to a wave of people across Canada signing up as donors. This phenomenon has become known as “The Logan Boulet Effect.”
All honourees from the Honouring Canada’s Lifeline event can be found on the Canadian Blood Services website.
While one in two Canadians is eligible to donate blood, only one in 60 Canadians donate. Blood and blood products are a part of everyday medical care including major surgeries, procedures, cancer treatments and managing disease. Giving blood is one of the most direct ways to help someone. Currently, O-negative blood is in particular demand by hospitals, because it is the only type that is compatible with all other blood types.