HIDDEN HEROES: Surrey’s Joban Bal is devoted to donating blood

Tamanawis Secondary grad works tirelessly to raise awareness and rally donors

Joban Bal

Joban Bal

SURREY — If you wanted to talk to someone about donating blood, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone more passionate about it than Joban Bal.

“Giving blood doesn’t cost us anything, yet it can literally touch someone else’s life,” said the Newton resident. “But we usually don’t realize it until it affects people close to us, people in our family.”

Bal, a first-year sciences student at UBC, graduated from Tamanawis Secondary in 2016.

Although he was too young to donate blood until his senior year, Bal has worked tirelessly to urge others to donate through Canadian Blood Services since he was 15, running the Young Blood for Life program at Tamanawis for two years.

He says visiting his dying grandmother in hospital opened his eyes to certain issues in the medical community – the desperate need for blood being one of them.

“In Grade 10, I discovered there was a huge need and when I asked my relatives and friends, I found no one was donating,” he said. “When asked why, they had no reason – just because they had never been approached about it.”

In his senior year at Tamanawis, Bal organized the school’s first ever blood clinic, where 97 people signed up in one day –  89 of them being new donors.

Later that same year, the school hosted another blood clinic, where 56 people donated blood, 40 of those being new donors.

Most recently, in December, Bal and a group of  Canadian Blood Service’s One Blood for Life volunteers braved the miserable winter weather outside the Surrey Blood Donor clinic in Guildford to round up donors. The dedicated group helped round up 152 donations.

Making this kind of impact is what keeps Bal dedicated to his cause.

“That’s when it really pays off,” he said. “Me personally, I can only donate so many times. But if I can change someone else’s mind about donating blood and they go on to tell someone else about donating blood, then it’s a ripple effect.

“And that’s when change really occurs. And rather than touch just one life, we touch many.”

Nancy Bryan, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services, said because one of the biggest challenges at the Surrey clinic is the location – the community doesn’t quite know where the clinic is – Bal and the other volunteers were a huge help. She said they stood in the pouring rain holding signs that read “Blood donors needed today” along 152nd Street to attract passersby.

And their strategy worked.

“Many donors stated they had been meaning to donate and when they saw the students holding the signs they turned around and came in to donate,” Bryan said.

“The students can be very proud of themselves for making a huge impact.”

The Surrey Blood Clinic is located at 15285 101 Ave., which is next to Guildford Town Centre beside the ICBC office in the Boardwalk Mall. It is open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

To donate, call 1-888-2 DONATE.

Do you know a Hidden Hero in your community? Email us at edit@thenownewspaper.com


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

Shana Harris-Morris was killed Feb. 4. (GoFundMe photo)
IHIT says 22-year-old killed in Surrey shooting was ‘unintended victim’

Shana Harris’ family makes appeal for more information

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media file)
Man charged after pushing pregnant woman to the ground in Surrey, police say

Surrey RCMP say it appeared to be an ‘unprovoked assault’

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read