Red Deer firefighter owes his life to blood donations

Sirens for Life campaign kicks off Friday

Blood transfusions saved Red Deer firefighter Tyler Pelke’s life following a terrifying attack when he was 14.

Pelke was viciously assaulted and a friend was killed in the attack in southern Manitoba. Pelke’s throat was slashed and he suffered third-degree burns on 25 per cent of his body when his assailant set fire to the home they were in.

He was willing to share the story to promote the Sirens for Life campaign, which kicked off Friday, with Red Deer fire-medics and RCMP officers engaging in a friendly rivalry to see who can donate the most blood.

“It was a pretty traumatic event way back when, and it resulted in multiple transfusions for me at the time.

“My heart had stopped,” said the deputy chief with Red Deer Emergency Services.

The blood from donors was critical to keeping him alive then and he has returned the favour many times since by donating blood.

Fire Chief Ken McMullen said as first responders, they are frequently at incidents where donated blood will be needed.

“To be on (the) other side of that, to be able to donate blood in a fun environment, we really benefit from that in the end.”

With a first responder boost, it’s hoped that the Sirens for Life campaign will reach its goal of collecting 1,190 units of blood and 170 new donors.

“They’re willing to donate themselves, and they’re encouraging the public to donate as well,” said Nicole Russell, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services.

She said blood donations tend to slow down in August as many people head out on holidays.

“Summertime is a really difficult time for the blood system,” she said.

“But the need (for blood) is constant, so we need people in our donor system to keep up with demand.”

There are about 900 donation slots open in August. It typically takes about 40 minutes from screening to donation.

The Canadian Blood Services donation centre is located at 5020 68 St.

To make an appointment, call 1-888-2DONATE (236-6283) or go to

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Vikings Days a celebration of Danish immigration, culture

The Danish Canadian Museum near Dickson held its annual Viking Days celebration… Continue reading

Red Deer would be the site of potential TV show

A potential TV show aims to bring Red Deer kids across the… Continue reading

Oilsands firms considering diluent recovery units to boost crude-by-rail volumes

CALGARY — Ongoing pipeline project delays and growth in crude-by-rail capacity from… Continue reading

WATCH: ‘Lots to see and do’ at Pioneer Days in Red Deer

Sunnybrook Farm Museum is celebrating its 24th annual Pioneer Days this weekend.… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

Saskatoon Cubs win Westerns with wild extra-innings comeback

The Saskatoon Cubs showed no quit in the finals of the 18UAAA… Continue reading

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

OTTAWA — The United Kingdom is shirking its share of the international… Continue reading

Federal and provincial leaders to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

MONTREAL — A number of federal and provincial leaders are expected in… Continue reading

Regina woman suing after tip of son’s penis cut off in circumcision

REGINA — A Regina mother has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence after… Continue reading

Maxime Bernier tells party faithful he will make it into the leaders’ debates

OTTAWA — Maxime Bernier argued that not inviting him to take part… Continue reading

Alberta suspects lead Mounties on chase before their capture in Camrose

CAMROSE, Alta. — Mounties from the Wetaskiwin, Alta., detachment had their hands… Continue reading

Man dies in hospital after aggravated assault in Winnipeg, police say

Winnipeg police say a man is dead after he was allegedly assaulted… Continue reading

Most Read