Sherbrooke resident nears blood donation milestone

By Michael Boriero, Local Journalism Initiative ­Reporter

Lorne Martin has been donating blood since he was 17 years old and on June 10, he’ll reach 200 total blood donations when he visits the clinic at Galeries Orford de Magog.
“I think it’s a nice accomplishment,” Martin said. “It took a lot of perseverance to reach this number of donations.”
At 65 years old, Martin says that his two favourite hobbies as he gets older are playing pickleball in the Townships and giving his blood to people in need. Hospitals always need blood, he added, whether it’s for surgery or to save a burn victim.
“Héma-Québec says that each donation could save four lives, so I’m just happy to be able to do that for the community in general,” said Martin.
Héma-Québec, the province’s main blood supplier to hospitals, sent out a call to all Quebecers on Tuesday morning. The non-profit organization needs roughly 1,000 donations a day to maintain a well-stocked blood supply; but they are asking for more.
With all of the health measures put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19, blood donation clinics — mobile or stationary — have taken a serious hit. People need to make appointments now, whereas before you could pop in unannounced.
Normally blood donors need to wait eight weeks before going back to a clinic. But the last time Martin went to donate, the clinic was telling people that they can give every four weeks. It’s something he has never seen before in nearly 50 years of donating blood.
“I don’t know if it will always be like this, but right now they are doing it because they need it badly,” Martin said.
He gave his last donation on May 13, after he finished a mandatory 14-day quarantine; he had just returned from Florida. He decided to answer the clinics call and return only 28 days later.
While appointments will deter some people from donating, Martin said the process is relatively simple. It’s basically the same steps as before, he explained, except now people need to wear a mask and wash their hands four or five times.

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