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Late Jim Whelan’s family recruiting 66 blood donors in his honour



by Sylene Argent 

Before his passing on December 18, 2017, McGregor resident Jim Whelan was an avid blood donor, rolling up his sleeve to help others in need whenever he was able to do so. He would also encourage others to donate blood as they could.

  In his honour, Whelan’s family is looking to get 66 new donors, which is how old he would have turned this August, and another 67 new donors next year to honour his birthday the following year. These donations would be made in Whelan’s name through registering with tracking number INHO51873 at blood.ca/en/partnersforlife. Participants must then book to participate in a clinic for the donation to link with Whelan’s cause.

  Whelan’s son, Aarronn Whelan, spoke of the passion his father had for Canadian Blood Services.

  “He was a huge proponent of it,” he said, noting his dad gave blood as frequently as he could. “It’s really an ambitious thing. He is going to leave a huge hole [in the Canadian Blood Service’s donation pool]. It is important to fill the need.”

  Another son of Whelan’s, Jerry Simpson, came up with the idea of garnering new blood donors in his dad’s honour. Now, the family is looking to the community to get involved. He noted that his dad made 221 donations to Canadian Blood Services in likely over the past 35 years.

  Whelan’s dedication to donating blood has encouraged his loved ones able to give, to donate as well. Simpson said he has donated 56 times himself.

  “He inspired a lot of people. He was always doing that,” Simpson said of his father. “[Donating blood] is a wonderful thing to do.”

  Marisa Gatfield, Territory Manager, Canadian Blood Services, was thrilled to hear Whelan’s family was looking to recruit new donors in his honour.

  The future donations should help Canadian Blood Services in garnering more blood donations. There is always a need for more donations. At the last blood clinic in Essex Centre, Canadian Blood Services garnered 94 percent of its collection objective.

  Blood is needed to reach patient needs, including in support of people who battle some cancers.

  For more information about Canadian Blood Services, or to learn more about giving blood or upcoming clinics, log onto blood.ca.

  The next blood donation clinic in Essex Centre will be hosted at the Essex Centre Sports Complex on June 19.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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