The Canadian Blood Services blood donor clinics come through the city twice a month, but when someone has visited 200 times, it’s kind of special.
Brian Powney from Steinbach will reach that milestone on Monday, October 18th. He says it’s been a goal of his for a really long time.
“I set my sights on this probably around my 100th donation. And then you know you got to wait years to actually get here. So, it's kind of surreal that I’ve finally reached this point. I'm just trying to stay healthy and keep myself ok, so that that I can actually make the appointment on Monday.”
Thinking back to his very first blood donation he says, “I was 17 years old. I grew up in Dauphin and back then it was the Red Cross that did the blood Donation stuff and they were having a clinic in our high school. A couple of people who went class to class just promoting it and they said if you're 18 years old you can donate, no problem. If you're 17 years old, then you have to have your parents’ consent. I figured sounds like a good idea. So, when I got home after school, I asked my parents and my dad says, 'I'll go with you' and so, the two of us went in and donated blood.”
Powney doesn’t remember much about the donation itself. “It wasn't anything traumatic. It was just, you know, a good thing to do.”
After his first blood donation, Powney says he went occasionally over the years, but then something happened.
“There came a point where there was a person in my life who would have died, had it not been for blood donors and then all of a sudden it impacted me and I started to donate regularly.”
When asked about how it feels to know that many people have received his blood, Powney says,
“I don't know of anybody that has received my blood. I do know of 12 to 15 people who have received blood or blood products at some point in their lives, and I always ask them, ‘Do you know what blood type are you?’ And not one of them has had my blood type, yet. Somebody somewhere is benefiting from the blood that I've donated. Just as these people, these acquaintances of mine have benefited from somebody else donating blood. There are these people that are donating blood, and other people are benefiting from it today because of that.”
When asked how he would explain the process of making a blood donation, Powney jokes,
“I have been tempted many times over the years when I know that there's somebody giving for the first time sitting down beside me, to just scream in pain when they poke the needle in. But I have resisted that temptation. By and large, it's just a poke. Nothing is excruciatingly painful about it. I think, out of the 199 times that I've given so far, only twice has it hurt a lot.”
Powney compliments the Canadian Blood Services staff and says, “they are all very well trained. When the needle goes in, you hardly even notice it. It's not an ordeal you'd wish to run away from. Especially when three people can benefit from one donation. That by far supersedes any discomfort that a person might feel.”
After each blood donation, donors are asked to stay in the area for at least 10 minutes, in case there are reactions to giving blood. Donors are also giving either a can of pop or juice, a cookie or something sweet to eat. The whole process, from being registered, asked your medical questions, blood pressure checked, blood tested and the donation itself takes about an hour.
Powney says he will continue to make blood donations as long as he is healthy and able to give.
“They used to have an age limit on it, but they've removed it and now, as far as I know, you can continue to give blood as long as you're healthy. You know, day by day we will see what happens.”
The Steinbach Blood Donor Clinic is on Monday, October 18th at the EMC, 422 Main Street from 2pm to 7pm. No walk-ups. You are asked to make your appointment online at www.blood.ca. Donors can also download their app or call 1-888-todonate (1-888-236-6283)
If you are not able to make your appointment time on the day of your donation, please call to cancel, so someone else can be scheduled in.