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Grand Falls-Windsor men reflect on 30 years of blood donation

A pair of central Newfoundland men were recently recognized for their blood donation efforts by Canadian Blood Services.
A pair of central Newfoundland men were recently recognized for their blood donation efforts by Canadian Blood Services. - 123RF Stock Photo

There is a small mark in the hinge of Roy Andrews’ right arm.  

Grand Falls-Windsor's Roy Andrews was recently recognized for his 150 donations to Canadian Blood Services during a ceremony in St. John’s
Grand Falls-Windsor's Roy Andrews was recently recognized for his 150 donations to Canadian Blood Services during a ceremony in St. John’s

A slight shade of purple, the mark resembles a tiny bruise. On anyone else, it would be insignificant. 

It’d probably just another mark that could be explained with a short story. 

For Andrews, however, it is more like a badge of honour. 

That is because the tiny calloused mark represents the 150 times that Andrews has had blood drawn by the Canadian Blood Services. 

For the last 30 years, the 58-year-old Grand Falls-Windsor man has had a needle inserted into that same spot and blood drawn out. 

He tried the left arm once, but it didn’t suit him and he quickly went back to the old familiar spot. 

Andrews was recently recognized by Canadian Blood Services for his 150 donations over the last 30 years. A week later, Grand Falls-Windsor's Donald Pittman was recognized for donating blood 75 times. 

That is when he was working and living in Ontario. Andrews enjoys throwing some darts around and he had joined a league at his local Royal Canadian Legion. It just so happened one night the Legion was offering a donor clinic and Andrews sat down to give for the first time. 

He didn’t give again until he returned to Newfoundland and Labrador. Andrews was out for a walk shortly after that he returned to Grand Falls-Windsor when he saw a clinic and gave again. Since then, he does everything he can not to miss out on the chance to give blood. 

“When they bring a clinic out here and I miss it, I feel bad about missing it,” said Andrews. 

In fact, he laments that he can’t give more and expressed some disappointment that there isn’t a regular clinic in Grand Falls-Windsor. The next one is scheduled for June 25. 

Clinics are also scheduled for Gander on  July 9 and July 10 at Fraser Road United Church

Pittman has a similar story to Andrews. 

The Grand Falls-Windsor man started donating years ago when he was a younger man and going to trade school in the late 1960s. Over the years, he’s given 75 times and has a goal of reaching 100 donations in the future. He tries to donate three times a year and started because he saw a need for it. 

“It is good to help people in need,” said Pittman. 

Looking back on his time donating blood, he too laments being unable to give more. 

“(75 donations) is a lot times but I should have been there more,” said Pittman. 

Sometimes you find something that you wish you had found sooner and Andrews is no different. 
While he didn’t start donating blood until his late 20s, Andrews wishes he had started when he was legally able to at the age 17. He thinks about the people who might need blood after a car crash or the young children dealing with a condition like Leukemia who might need transfusions. That is what keeps him going. 

“We waited 'til later in life and we could have been giving for years, but we never thought of it,” said Andrews. “I often say to the wife that I should have started to give earlier. Not for any recognition but for helping people.” 

 For more information on how you can donate blood, visit www.blood.ca

During a ceremony in Grand Falls-Windsor earlier this month, resident Donald Pittman, right, was recognized for his 75 blood donations. Pittman is shown here receiving his certificate from Canadian Blood Services territory manager Gordon Skiffington.
During a ceremony in Grand Falls-Windsor earlier this month, resident Donald Pittman, right, was recognized for his 75 blood donations. Pittman is shown here receiving his certificate from Canadian Blood Services territory manager Gordon Skiffington.

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