How will you be celebrating your next birthday? William Vander Wilp celebrated his in March when he and a group of men from First Christian Reformed Church and Westside CRC in Kingston, Ontario, gathered for their bimonthly blood donation.
A Kingston, Ontario, men’s group meets at the blood donor clinic.
Vander Wilp began giving blood almost two decades ago as a teenager. He was attracted to the donation clinic in a shopping mall by the prospect of free cookies and a possible boredom buster. Five years ago he celebrated his 50th donation by bringing along a few friends, and the group was born.
The number of participants in the bimonthly donor group averages from four to eight, since not every member is able to keep the appointment every time. A little friendly competition over highest iron levels and who can donate a pint the fastest adds to the fun. “It gives us time together that we wouldn’t otherwise get,” said John deBoer.
The group records the total number of pints donated and hemoglobin levels. Besides their personal cards recording individual donations, the log book of total donations made since the group started has passed the 100 mark. Also included in the log book is a rating of the different restaurants they visit as a special treat after donating.
Since the men started their group, they have showed up together so often that the clinic nurses have gotten to know them. The cake they brought in to celebrate Vander Wilp’s recent birthday made their March 2013 donation a memorable occasion.
Charge nurse Coralee Brooks said the group’s impact at the clinic is “inspiring to other donors.”