Allan Polegi and Ervin Litzenberger are men on a mission to save lives. Though they don't know each other, the Yorkton-area residents have both been on a path that has led to the same significant achievement this year - they've each reached their 50-time blood donation milestones.
The duo was among a group of more than 100 donors recently recognized at a special Honouring our Lifeblood event hosted by Canadian Blood Services in Regina. With every blood donation carrying the potential to save as many as three lives, Polegi and Litzenberger have rolled up their sleeves enough times to collectively save 300 people.
Allan Polegi makes the 25-mile drive from his farm into Yorkton whenever Canadian Blood Services' mobile clinic is in town. He says that taking an hour out of his life to donate every few months is a very small sacrifice, and one he's gladly willing to make. Over the years, he's known a few people who have been touched by the need for blood, and says it makes him feel good knowing there's something he can do to help. "If it's a gift I can share with others, I'm happy giving it," he says.
Ervin Litzenberger's reasons for donating blood are equally rooted in modesty. When asked what has motivated him to donate more than 50 times, he remarks, "I have no good reason not to!" Litzenberger began giving blood at age 20, when he was in the grain-buying business and 'tagged along' with some customers to a clinic. Fifty-five donations later, he says he sees no reason to stop.
The committed efforts of people like Litzenberger and Polegi play a key role in fuelling the blood system. Since the need for blood is constant, their contributions help ensure Canadian Blood Services is able to continually meet the needs of patients in hospitals.
In the past year, blood donors in Saskatchewan contributed over 56,000 units of blood and platelets, with approximately half of those donations coming from southern Saskatchewan communities, including Yorkton.
Canadian Blood Services encourages Yorkton residents to follow the lead of committed donors like Polegi and Litzenberger, and play a role in saving lives.
The next blood donor clinic in Yorkton is scheduled for May 16 at St. Mary's Cultural Centre from 2-8 p.m. Call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283) for more information or to book an appointment.