Surrey students organize blood drive in honour of teacher with rare condition

GUILDFORD — Iveta Finnson has been hospitalized four times since being diagnosed with a rare disorder of the bloodcoagulation system in 2006. Each time, she requires blood – a lot of blood. She can need the equivalent of 300 donations.

The Guildford Park Secondary teacher’s condition, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) forced her to miss the first half of this school year. After returning home from the hospital, Finnson received an email from a fellow teacher at the school – an email that she said left her stunned.

Students and teachers at the school had started a campaign encouraging the school to participate in a blood drive – all in her honour.

"I was very touched," she said, her voice breaking as she smiled and looked at the three students who spearheaded the project. "There’s never enough blood available. I totally depend on these donations. They don’t know how far-reaching this really is… The fact that they are young and so full of great ideas and energy is amazing.

"I was in tears."

It all began when some students went with another teacher at the school to donate blood last November.

From there, an idea snowballed into a campaign to see how many fellow classmates and teachers they could get to jump on board.

"We can’t really give to our community that much," said senior Sarah Morse. "This was a way to give back."

They turned it into a competition – who could donate more, teachers or students?

They held a lunchtime event to "prick" fingers of those who wanted to take part to see their blood type and if they’d be eligible to give.

"It was overwhelming to see how many people came out," Morse said.

"It’s such an easy thing to do," said Katie Czenczek, another senior. "And it can literally save someone’s life."

Cabs then came to take students and teachers to a Guildford blood bank, and all in all, 28 students and 12 staff donated. But there were more than 70 students who were turned away, due to things like obesity or other disqualifications.

"I’m just so proud of our school," said Morse.

"Just the fact that they were willing to try," added Czenczek. "Even those who didn’t make it, they went out and did their best."

The drive went so well it will be carried on in future years, becoming an annual tradition for the high school.

Marko Gagic, a Grade 12 student who made the ad that was spread through the school, is a former student of Finnson’s.

"She gave me her knowledge, and I gave her my blood," he said with a cheeky smile.

We’ve all heard the slogan, "It’s in you to give," but Canadian Blood Services may want to consider stealing Gagic’s catch phrase – "Give blood. It doesn’t suck."

According to Canadian Blood Services, roughly every minute of every day someone in Canada needs blood. One person can donate whole blood up to six times a year, which can help up to 18 people.

For more information on donating visit Blood.ca.

areid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Kids Boost Immunity honours Surrey school for vaccine donations

Elementary students donate more than 3,000 vaccinations to UNICEF

Teen charged with possession of a loaded firearm after incident at Whalley park

Surrey RCMP say 17-year-old boy allegedly found in possession of loaded handgun

Pug life: Waggish dog names listed in White Rock

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered with the city

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Loud jets from Abbotsford are annoying residents of tiny U.S. town

Flights out of Abbotsford airport turn over border town and annoy residents, Sumas mayor says

Olympic auditions return to Lower Mainland

Event an opportunity for unknown athletes to shine and, maybe, change sports

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. pedophile wins appeal after violating court order

Kelly Glen Isbister’s sentence was cut by the BC Court of Appeal

Most Read