Preparing to donate blood for the first time was a bit unnerving for Nelson Semedo.
“When you don’t know what to expect, that could be disconcerting,” said the Grade 12 student who joined other Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary School classmates donating blood for the first time at Canadian Blood Services (CBS) on College St. on February 7.
The procedure went smoothly for Semedo.
“The hardest part was the preparation and getting that first prick with the needle,” he said. “Everything went well after that and I plan on doing this again.”
Semedo echoed the sentiments of his classmates who relished the experience.
“I like helping people and this is a great way to do that,” said Grade 12 student Gayathri Kajenthiram.
Constable Peter DeQuintal, 12 Division administrator Sandra McQuade and Archbishop Romero Child & Youth Worker Maria Araujo reached out to the students to take part in the blood-donor drive.
“About three weeks ago, we set up a recruitment table and the response was overwhelming,” said De Quintal. “This is a great way to build community and it has the potential to save lives.”
Superintendent Scott Weidmark, unit commander at 12 Division, thanked the young people for taking the time to make a donation.
“I gave blood for the first time when I was about 18 or 19 and attending Ryerson,” he said. “Giving blood is a way to save lives. It is something we have in us that’s free and it replaces itself. I just hope some of these youths will become life-long donors.”
Judy Compton, CBS Ontario associate director of donor relations, was on hand to welcome the students and three teachers.
“The commitment the youths have made to this day is very important because they are our future,” she pointed out. “It’s good they are getting exposure to this, now, so they can become regular donors throughout their lifetime. Blood only has a short lifespan, so there is the constant need to fill the shelf. We rely on the younger population to help fill those shelves. We are losing a lot of our donors due to health and other reasons, so it’s vital that young people fill that gap. I hope their experience the first time is great so they will not hesitate to come back.”
To book an appointment to donate visit blood.ca