Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kari Zieffle honoured for donating 50 units of blood

Kari Zieffle
Toni Lucas

Pincher Creek citizen Kari Zieffle was recently honored at the Coast Hotel in Lethbridge Alberta at the 'Honouring Our LifeBlood' event that happened Monday, April 13, 2015. This event celebrated over 75 people in southern Alberta for their contributions to Canadian Blood Services through volunteerism, donations, or partnerships. Zieffle has donated over 50 units of whole blood since 9-11.

"I always wanted to donate blood, I saw their sandwich board in the mall, and there was always an excuse as to why I couldn't do it right then, but I had it in the back of my mind that it was something I wanted to do," Zieffle explained.  "After 9-11 happened, and hearing the Alan Jackson song with, 'Did you stand in line and give your own blood?' (from the song 'Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning') I thought to myself; 'This is the time to do it', and I've been doing it ever since."

Pincher Creek Co-op Gas Bar Manager Kari Zieffle

Zieffle said she does not believe she has ever known anyone that has required blood, but that does not stop her belief in the importance of continuing to donate. "It's just really nice knowing that someone out there needed what I had, and I was able to give it." Zieffle tends to donate at the clinic in Lethbridge Centre Mall. "They are so wonderful there, and make you feel so comfortable."

Zieffle was moved by presenter Jim Seely and his 5 year old son, Parker, who was born with a congenital heart defect. Zieffle explained "As soon as he was born, he needed blood products right away, and they did open heart surgery on him when he was just a baby." Young Parker did eventually find a heart donor, but there were complications that required more blood transfusions, and eventually led to the removal of Parker's spleen. "He's fine now. He was running around there, just being a kid, and that's pretty amazing. It was one of those tear jerker moments." She took a moment then said, "It makes you pretty proud to realize you can affect someone like that." Zieffle said that there are other adult members of her family who also donate.

Director of Donor Relations for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and NWT Susan Matsumoto said "One of the challenges we have is finding new donors." She said that even though 1 out of every 2 people are eligible to give blood, about 4% of Canadians actually do. Half of all Canadians will either need blood or know someone who will need blood at some point in their lives. Someone with leukemia may require as many as 8 units of blood a week, a person with cancer may need 5 units, and a single person in a tragic car crash may need 50 units. There is an now an app available for your phone to help set up an appointment. Matsumoto said that although they welcome walk in donors, they encourage appointments. There are some criteria that must be met for a person to be able to donate blood. Matsumoto said that the minimum age for donations is 17 years old.

Related Links:

Canadian Blood Services
or phone 1-888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283)

Register for OneMatch Stem Cell & Marrow Network:

Become an organ and tissue donor:

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