When Byron Link gave blood for the first time in 1965, he had no idea he would eventually go on to donate dozens more times.
In fact, he wasn’t even sure he’d ever do it again after the first donation.
“It was kind of a bad experience,” he told KTW. “But it was just all psychological.”
Later, after Link joined the RCMP and, as a first responder, had the opportunity to see the value of blood donations, he began to again visit the clinics.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do,” he said.
But that desire to give increased rather dramatically in 1996. His wife became very sick and only survived because of blood donations.
“If it wasn’t for blood services, I’d have been a widow,” Link said. “Well, that was a motivation.”
Link has been honoured by Canadian Blood Services for 150 blood donations — though, in reality, he has given blood a few more times than that.
“It’s 154 now,” he said.
In addition to the help provided by the sheer number of times Link donated his blood, he was also providing Canadian Blood Services with a relatively rare blood type — AB RH negative.
It is a blood type found in one of every 200 people.
“It runs in the family. My grandmother had it. My dad had it, too,” Link said.
“I know my grandmother needed blood once. They couldn’t find anybody to give it to her, so my dad, he says he laid in bed beside her and they just made a live transfusion.”
Alas, Link’s blood-donation days have ended.
A recently diagnosed medical condition has Link on medication that prevents him from donating blood — but he is encouraging anybody who has considered giving blood to do so.
Link points to some surprising statistics as a reason more people should donate.
“Half the people are eligible to donate, but only one in 60 do,” he said.
“Just give it a whirl. Like I said, the first time it’s something new, but once you’ve done it, there’s nothing to it.”
The next blood-donor clinics will be held at Oasis Church, 1205 Rogers Way in Aberdeen, on June 17, June 18 and June 19.
For information on booking a time and eligibility requirements, go online to blood.ca or call Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-236-6283.