NEW GLASGOW — Local residents have kept Braden Ross in their thoughts with blood donations through the Canadian Blood Services.
People who have given blood many times in the past, or had not done so for some time or had never donated blood, said they felt compelled to make an extra effort to donate blood during one of the regularly scheduled clinics last week at Summer Street.
Karen Hicks arrived to give blood for the first time, while Tracy Roy has donated blood once before. Dan and Beverly Sheehan gave blood for the first time in years on Wednesday.
Clinics also took place Thursday afternoon.
All of them know Ross directly or indirectly and have connected with his current health challenges.
Ross, 17, played hockey before being sidelined with a form of leukemia. He is in Grade 12 at North Nova Education Centre but has become too ill to attend school.
It has prompted many people to submit to a test to see if they might be a match for a stem cell procedure to treat Ross’s illness.
Hicks’s daughter Lauren Hicks, who plays female hockey, encouraged her to participate.
“My daughter is in his graduation class, and one of her teammates from hockey is his girlfriend,” Karen Hicks said. “She asked me to come and support in his name. It was the first time and he was my inspiration. I feel good about doing it. I first said to Lauren that I’m nervous. She said ‘I’m sure Braden is too.’”
Roy, like Ross, is from Pictou East. She grew up in Lismore, while Ross lives in Barney’s River.
“He’s from down that way,” she said. “I wasn’t able to take part in the stem cell search, but I can do this for him and help out whatever way I can.”
The Sheehans’ sons Luke and Riley are friends of Ross.
“They’ve been friends a long time and hang out together,” Beverly said. “I haven’t donated in a long time, but Braden spurred us into action.”
Last week’s schedule included March 19 at the Pictou Armory, March 20 at Frank H. MacDonald Elementary School in Sutherland’s River and afternoon and evening sessions on Wednesday and Thursday at Summer Street.
The Frank H. option was a popular one because Ross first attended school there.
Deborah MacGillivray, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services, said the agency was asked to operate the clinic at the school.
While donated blood goes into a national inventory and has no specific designation, she said it was an opportunity to donate blood for Ross.
Wednesday’s afternoon clinic included 23 students from Northumberland Regional High School, while students from North Nova and Northumberland attended the clinic on Thursday.
More clinics are scheduled later this spring on May 15 from 5-8 p.m. at the Pictou Armoury and May 16 from noon to 3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. and May 17 from 1-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at Summer Street.
Karen Hicks, left, is attended to by Charlene McCracken, a donor care associate with the Canadian Blood Services, after donating blood last week at Summer Street.