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A Newfoundland family gives back to say thank you

It’s never too late to become a blood donor. You could save a life today. — 123RF Stock photo
It’s never too late to become a blood donor. You could save a life today. — 123RF Stock photo

Editor’s note: The annual Telegram Saves Lives campaign runs until Oct. 20. 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. Tessa Snelgrove of Holyrood submitted this one about her uncle, Rick Squires of Old Perlican.

Every day as a nurse, I see the importance of blood and its products, yet it wasn’t until someone close to me required blood transfusions, platelets and eventually a bone marrow transplant that I truly recognized its value.

In July of 2016, my Uncle Rick was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, which then progressed to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in August 2017. Prior to his diagnosis of AML, it was determined that he would require a bone marrow transplant. During the months it took to find a donor, Uncle Rick received numerous blood and platelet transfusions.

In the fall of 2017, Uncle Rick and Aunt Marg received a phone call that would change his life: at last a bone marrow match had been found! They travelled to Halifax where he received his transplant on Oct. 27, 2017. He spent months recovering thanks to a stranger’s selfless gift, a gift that gave him his life back.

I come from a very close family. While talking over a group text one day, we decided that we wanted to help others in the same way that they had helped Uncle Rick. On July 19th, we made our first group blood donation as the Kelly cousins. We continue to do so as often as we can.

After our second group donation, we held a clinic in honour of Uncle Rick as a way of showing our appreciation to everyone who has donated in the past and aided in his treatment and recovery. Family, friends, and strangers came together to donate. He attended to show his gratitude as we rolled up our sleeves. We were overwhelmed by the amount of people who attended our clinic. I’m happy to say that we had a total of 23 donors, eight of whom donated for the first time.

Uncle Rick and his family have been very fortunate in his recovery. On behalf of our family, we would like to thank everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to donate and encourage those who haven’t yet to take the opportunity to give a little of yourself to help save someone’s life.

Your gift could make a remarkable difference in the life of someone else. Just ask Uncle Rick.

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