A local man says his life depends on blood donations.
Bernie Dueck says he receives an infusion of antibodies, made from the by-product of 1,000 blood donations, every four weeks due to an immune deficiency he was diagnosed with 21 years ago. One infusion made up of 1,000 blood donations every four weeks for 21 years means Dueck has been helped by over 273,000 donations.
Dueck says, before he was diagnosed, he was getting sick more and more often, adding he would develop a fever and pneumonia up to every two months.
"It took a long time to get that figured out with the doctors thinking I was allergic to something like cats or that I had asthma. No one wanted to test for it until finally, I went to one doctor who suggested getting tested for allergies and we did. Turns out no allergies or asthma. [I was diagnosed with] immune deficiency [called hypogammaglobulinemia]."
"If this wouldn't have been available to me I probably wouldn't be around right now because I would have become resistant to all the antibiotics I would have had in the last 21 years," notes Dueck. "Now I'm getting maybe one set of antibiotics a year [when I get sick] instead of six or 10 or 12 I was getting before. In essence, it keeps me alive longer because once you run out of antibiotics that you're able to use, then you're basically on your own."
Canadian Blood Services is looking for an additional 25,000 blood donations across Canada and Dueck says everyone who can donate should go out and give blood.
"[If the people who have helped me where here] I would just say thank you. It's a life saver not just for myself but everybody else. It's just amazing that people would do something like that for us and it's an absolute wonderful thing for them to do."
The next clinic in Steinbach is Monday, Sep 4 between 2 and 7 p.m. at Steinbach Mennonite Church.