Sam Milito can’t stress enough how important donating blood is. The retired steelworker was diagnosed with Iron Overload in 1990. At that time he had ten units of blood removed to bring down his ferritin levels down. Milito continued to have blood removed over the years but was disappointed that his blood could not be donated. “Not enough people give blood”
Then, in 2012 Milito began seeing a specialist in London Ontario. It was then Milito was given the all clear and his blood could now be donated. “There’s a huge shortage right now” Milito told SaultOnline.com. The amount of blood needed is staggering, for example, a heart surgery patient may need up to five donors while a victim in a serious car crash could need up to 50 donors. Leukemia patients need about 8 donors a week. According the Canadian Blood Services only about 400,000 Canadians actively give blood once or twice a year.
Canadian Blood Services needs 100,000 new donors this year alone.
Milito has become a important local advocate for blood donations. “Almost anyone can give blood, if you’re over 17 and there’s no upper age limit”
Canadian Blood Services report that one in two Canadians are eligible to donate but only 1 in 60 do.
Milito not only gives blood but spends a lot of time getting the word out and volunteering at the local blood donor clinics, with the next one coming up later this Month.
Milito will print off flyers and distribute them all over town at local businesses and bulletin boards. The process takes about an hour of your day Milito said, they remove one pint of blood and then you are served a light lunch.
Milito’s goal is that every person in the Sault knows about donor clinics and the need for blood donations or all types. “The blood collected is sent to the national blood bank in Ottawa where it is distributed far and wide, even globally” Milito said.
Several blood donor clinics are held throughout the year , the next one is March 21st 4 to 8pm on March 28 the clinic is scheduled for 11:30am to 2:30pm and then 4 to 7pm and on March 23 10:30am to 2:30pm being held at the Bridgeview Banquet Hall (formerly the Verdi Hall)
Those wanting to give can also book an appointment by phone 1-888-236-6283 or online at www.blood.ca
Milito’s volunteer work with blood donor clinics has inspired many other local volunteers to nominate Milito for Honoring Our Life Blood Award an award given to dedicated individuals nationally through the Canadian Blood Services.