Terry Smith has been saving lives for 37 years.
The Orillia man made his first donation of blood in 1981 at the suggestion of his parents, both of whom were regular donors.
Thursday afternoon, he marked a milestone when he went under the needle for the 150th time during a Canadian Blood Services clinic at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn and Conference Centre.
“Every time you give, you can help three people with a donation,” said Smith, 54. “To me, it’s the right thing to do.”
When he started giving his B-positive blood, donors were permitted to do so three times a year. Now he’s allowed to donate six times a year, and he has taken advantage of every opportunity to do so. He knows people who have required blood from others over the years, which only encourages him further.
“You hear their stories and that makes it pretty gratifying to do,” he said.
The fact it saves lives “should be motivation enough” for people to donate, Smith said.
“If you can, it’s a good thing to be able to do,” he said, adding if people cannot or would prefer not to donate, they can still help by volunteering at the clinics. “There are many ways to help.”
Debbie Dunn, donor centre supervisor with Canadian Blood Services, was appreciative of Smith’s dedication to the cause, but she wasn’t necessarily surprised.
“Orillia is very generous when it comes to donating,” she said.
Still, watching donors hit milestones like Smith’s is “very emotional,” she said.
“They’ve been so loyal.”
Canadian Blood Services shows its appreciation to its donors with a party and dinner every year, when it hands out plaques for milestone donations.
Dunn has been encouraged by a recent trend in donations.
“We have an older donor base, but that’s been changing over the years,” she said, noting younger donors are showing up at the clinics in increasing numbers. “We need some young blood.”
It’s a small sacrifice that goes a long way.
“It’s a cheap way to volunteer your time. It’s a good thing to do and it doesn’t take a lot of your time,” she said.
Blood donor clinics take place at the Best Western Mariposa Inn the second Thursday of every month, from 2 to 7 p.m. The next one will take place Nov. 8, followed by another Nov. 9.
Men are allowed to donate every 56 days, while women can donate every 84 days.
For more information on donating, check out the Canadian Blood Services website.