When Lamar and Jessica Hanna give speeches on behalf of Canadian Blood Services, they always have four-month-old son Christopher in tow.
“He’s a big part of our story, because if it weren’t for blood donors, I wouldn’t be here, and neither would he,” said Lamar Hanna, 32.
It was just over a year ago that the Sarnia pharmacist was fighting for his life in the intensive care unit in London after doctors discovered he had a rare autoimmune disorder.
But three weeks and several blood transfusions later (about 4,500 millilitres of blood) he rallied, and today is in good health.
“I do monthly checkups; thank the lord everything has been good ever since … Either way, I still might not be here if not for the blood donors.”
In March, his wife gave birth to their first child, the same day he won a Chamber of Commerce award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
The couple, who own Centrepoint IDA Pharmacy, have become full-time volunteers for Canadian Blood Services and are trying to spread the word about blood donation any way they can.
“I myself can’t [donate], so the only thing I can do is tell as many people as possible to donate,” he said. “And when I share my story, that seems to touch a lot of people.”
When news came in May that Sarnia would lose its permanent blood donor clinic, Hanna said he was devastated.
“It was upsetting, having personally benefitted from donors — it’s scary to think that someone might not get that same benefit that I did.”
Mobile donor clinics, launched to replace the Bayside Centre site that closed June 1, are slated to take place monthly: the first Wednesday of the month at the Dante Club, and the fourth Saturday of the month at Temple Baptist Church.
The first Wednesday clinic (Aug. 5) was full, said donor relations’ director Michael Betel, but more bookings are needed for the first Saturday clinic (Aug. 22) to be held at Temple Baptist Church from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.
To book an appointment visit www.blood.ca.
Meanwhile, Hanna is hosting a free blood typing event at the Exmouth Street pharmacy on Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Representatives from Canadian Blood Services will also be on hand to provide information about Sarnia’s mobile clinics and how to get involved.
The pharmacy is also offering discounted cholesterol, and blood testing from Aug. 10-14, as well as lung health testing.
“It’s really important to spread the word this year, because the times for donated blood will be limited,” Hanna said. “Now, more than ever, we need more donors to step up.”