UPDATE: Friday’s virtual event has been postponed
For Deborah Skaey, helping fellow Canadians runs in the blood.
The Surrey resident works at BC RCMP headquarters Green Timbers as a communications strategist and since 2013 has been organizing blood donor clinics among the roughly 2,600 people working there.
On Friday, Nov. 13, she will be recognized at the Canadian Blood Services’ annual Honouring Canada’s Lifeline event, for her contributions as a volunteer peer recruiter. Over the last seven years, Skaey has been instrumental in collecting more than 700 units of whole blood.
“It’s a nice one-stop shop for them and police officers, we’ve all seen what it’s like when you’re a first responder and you go to a scene and someone is going to need assistance and require blood,” she said. “So we’ve all been in that place, either witnessing a victim or one of our own who requires blood and so there’s always been a high interest in giving blood.”
“I was just making it more convenient for them to do it in one spot.”
Skaey says rounding up donors is “all about” advance planning. She typically recruits about 20 volunteers, scheduling them in two-hour shifts. The donation drive is usually in April.
Asked what she thinks about receiving this honour, she replied, “I think because of the numbers of donors that we bring in each year, typically we’re one of the highest in the province, certainly in Surrey, and that consistency of me holding the event every year plus the additional fact that we bring in a huge number of the blood samples in, that they’ve been happy.
“Frankly I’ve been working with the same people for years and they’re wonderful,” Skaey said. “We’ve got a great bond between us and we support one another so I’m the kind of person that I know pretty well everyone in the building, so usually near the end I say how are our numbers, do we need more? And I’ll just go right around the building and say, ‘We need 50 more people, come on down.’ So it’s been fun for all of us, I think.”
Friday’s virtual event starts at 5 p.m. and will be broadcast live at facebook.com/CanadasLifeline with host Lainey Lui of Lainey Gossip and CTV’s eTalk, featuring musical guests Kalsey Kulyk and Donovan Woods.
Marcelo Dominguez, public affairs officer for Canada Blood Services, said the organization is “immensely grateful” to donors for their cooperation and support during the pandemic. “Blood donations across the country since the onset of COVID-19 have really helped maintain the national blood inventory and we’re very, very thankful to donors for their generosity. They have responded well,” he said.
“We really can’t do it without people like Deborah and other donors,” Dominguez said. “What makes Honoring Canada’s Lifeline event so important is that we hope that through the inspiration and commitment of our honorees, they really do inspire other Canadians to become regular blood donors or plasma donors, to consider registering as a stem cell or an organ and tissue donor, you know, volunteering or making a financial contribution – anything that they can do to help meet Canada’s future blood needs is really why the support of individuals like Deborah is so important.”