A Red Deer woman was one of four volunteers with Canadian Blood Services to be recognized nationally for her volunteer efforts.
Nancy Dillabough, 49, who was chosen from among volunteers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories, received an Honour Your Life Blood award in Ottawa on Sept. 11.
“I was very proud and honoured to get the award. It was just an awesome experience and it was great to be there and hear all the inspiring stories about how donating blood and stem cells can save someone’s life,” said Dillabough who has volunteered for seven years.
She volunteers one a day a week at the Red Deer Canadian Blood Services office, and eight times a month she is out in the community to raise awareness and recruit blood donors.
At nine years old Dillabough had a brain injury and required numerous blood transfusions. When she was later diagnosed with a neurological condition and could no longer work, she decided to volunteer with Canadian Blood Services to recognize those who donated blood so she could live.
Dillabough said donations can drop off in the fall because people are busy with school and work after the summer and recruiting donors in the community can be difficult.
“We found that some people will say they will donate and they never get around to making an appointment so we make the appointment right on the spot when we go out. That seems to help.”
Dillabough, who uses a walker, said she has regularly attended Saturday’s Red Deer Public Market to remind people to donate. The next recruitment event she will attend is on Wednesday at the ATB Financial Downtown Market.
The volunteer wants people to know that the blood they donate in Red Deer is kept in Central Alberta and used within a week, and that the Red Deer office now does stem cell cheek swabs.
“Not everyone realizes the importance. You never know when you’re going to need blood.”