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TELEGRAM SAVES LIVES: ‘I am grateful every day,’ says former Newfoundland and Labrador health minister

Lloyd Matthews. — Contributed
Lloyd Matthews — Contributed

Lloyd Matthews went from a blood donor to a recipient

Editor’s note: The annual Telegram Saves Lives campaign runs this year until Oct. 24. As part of our efforts to encourage people to give blood, we’re running a series of letters from people whose lives were changed by blood donation. Lloyd Matthews of St. John’s submitted this one.


Canadian Blood Services holds a vital place in our health-care system. As the provincial health minister from 1994 to 1997, I had the responsibility of overseeing the transition from the Canadian Red Cross to our current system with Canadian Blood Services. For about 25 years, I was fortunate to have been a regular blood and later plasma donor, understanding fully the high value placed on faithful donors.

In 2015, I required three separate heart surgeries: an aortic aneurysm repair, a valve replacement and a bypass procedure. In consultation with my doctors in Newfoundland, the surgeries were scheduled at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital. The surgeries were completed concurrently on March 16, 2016.

Towards the completion of the surgery, it was discovered that I had lost all of my platelets, which required additional time in the operating room to deal with this most serious and life-threatening complication. It was because someone had donated blood and blood products that I was fortunate to receive life-saving transfusions and to go on to make a full recovery.

Blood donors are literally life-savers every day and in various circumstances.

Please, if you are able, take the time to donate at every opportunity. This simple act could mean the difference between life and death.

I am grateful every day that someone chose to give blood.

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