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TGH has won the 2012 Toronto Hospital Blood Donation Challenge with 57 units of blood, tripling the number of donations from last year. In total, UHN employees donated 98 units of blood, saving approximately 294 lives. The Challenge, which ran from June 1 to July 31, brought together first-time donors with regular donors across UHN, many of whom had deeply personal connections to the issue.
In early July, UHNews ran a story about the challenge, and VP & Chief Information Officer Lydia Lee's life-long commitment to donation. When Dave Arnold, Senior Analyst, SIMS, read the story, he sprang into action, with an email to his SIMS colleagues. The subject? "Who wants some free cookies?"
Dave included a link to the story, information about Canadian Blood Services (CBS), facts about blood donation and a personal note on why he too regularly donates blood.
"I have a rare blood type of A-, which is shared by 6% of the population, so for me it was a no-brainer," he wrote. "My father was also in a situation where he needed six units of A- blood during an emergency surgery and I couldn't help but ask myself, what would have happened if the blood supply was low that day?"
Since then, Dave has donated 10 times and continues to encourage friends and family to donate. After his email went out, seven colleagues signed up to donate blood, four of them for the first time.
Dave had already recently donated before he sent out the email to colleagues, but he went over to CBS twice to cheer on the team. "I went to visit each colleague while they donated blood to offer my support and hand if they needed it," he says.
"UHN did a fantastic job as one of the partners in the 2012 challenge," says Roop Sidhu, Community Development Coordinator from CBS. "The increased number of road traumas in the summer can put a strain on our blood system and it is important to maintain a constant supply of new donations. It was exceptional to see so many employees get involved to make a difference."
UHN's big win wouldn't have been possible without a lot of hard work. Along with Lydia and Dave, Gurpreet Rosales, Senior Analyst Corporate Planning, SIMS, and Mary Centritto – Executive Assistant (to Lydia Lee), stepped up to help motivate and organize several large groups – including many first timers – to go over to CBS and donate.
As for Dave, he's gearing up for another drive in September, when summer donors are eligible to give again. He is confident he'll get more people next time around, now that summer vacations are wrapping up.
He doesn't know what he'll title his next email title yet, but he does know that he'd like to see more UHN employees to come out next month.
"If you have ever thought about doing it, just go for it. You never know when you might need blood yourself," he says.
For transportation, appointments, questions or more info about Canadian Blood Services, please contact Roop Sidhu at 416 571 6793 or
- Jess Verhey