January 21 2021, 09:56 AM
With a need for blood donations here in New Brunswick and across the country, we wanted to shine a light on employees giving the gift of life through Canadian Blood Services.
The top obstacle for most new blood donors is getting over their fear of needles. When longtime NB Power employee Erik Matchett started giving blood in 2014, he was admittedly a little nervous, too.
“My wife couldn’t believe that I was going to give blood,” Erik says, thinking back to his first donation. “My family thinks of me as kind of a wuss when it comes to pain and gore. But giving blood was no big deal!”
Erik Matchett, a Change Readiness employee in the Fredericton area.
The first donation went well and Erik never looked back. He schedules regular donations and aims to bring a friend or co-worker to each appointment.
“I feel it’s really important to give back,” says Erik. “Giving blood definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for me. It is really meaningful to know that my blood could help save the life of a fellow New Brunswicker. The average donation can save three lives.”
As a Manager in our Learning and Change Team, Erik supports his colleagues with updates impacting people, processes and equipment. As NB Power works to modernize the electrical grid, Erik’s team is busier than ever, helping employees get used to new technologies and ways of doing business.
Similarly, Erik says that Canadian Blood Services is modernizing to keep with the times.
“They’ve developed this great mobile app that allows you to keep track of appointments and urgent needs for donation,” Erik says. “Even cooler is that the app tracks your bleed time – how long it takes to get your donation – so you see friendly little competitions between regular donors.”
Feeling inspired after chatting with Erik about his experience, Marketing and Communications employee Jackie Leger visited blood.ca to check eligibility and register for an upcoming clinic. But when she heard a radio ad over the holidays asking for donors, she moved up her appointment to December 23.
“I was pretty worried about fainting,” said Jackie. “But from the moment I arrived, the staff put me at ease and walked me through the steps. Even with uncooperative veins in my right arm, a talented nurse was able to get the full 450 ml donation from my left arm. It was pretty amazing to watch that bag fill up.”
Jackie Leger, a Marketing and Communications employee in the Saint John area.
From start to finish, Jackie’s first donation took about one hour including assessments, the donation itself and monitoring before heading home. She says she was surprised by how little the donation process hurt.
“The little prick test for hemoglobin hurt way more than the big needle,” she says. “I felt a little less energetic than normal in the hours after my donation, but more than anything I felt proud and happy to know my blood will help those in need. It is such a quick and easy way to help others – I’m not sure why I waited so long to do it!”
Erik and Jackie have already scheduled their next donations and are challenging other colleagues to join them. While COVID-19 has impacted donation levels, they both felt very safe with the screening measures and enhanced safety protocols to keep donors, staff and volunteers safe.
If you’re interested in giving blood, visit blood.ca today to find a location near you!