As he closes in on his 70th birthday, Fred Muzin will be giving blood for the 200th time at a donation event, Thursday at the Florence Filberg Centre.
The Courtenay resident started donating blood in 1968 when he was a freshman in university.
“My first donation was at McGill (Montreal),” Muzin said. “The nursing school was involved in sponsoring it, and the refreshments included smoked meat sandwiches. That was the only time – it’s been cookies ever since.
“I was a first year science student,” he added. “I was curious, and even back then I had a strong sense of social justice.”
Muzin, now retired, worked in hospitals as a biomedical engineering technologist. He served as president of the Hospital Employees’ Union in B.C. for 15 years.
In Canada, he notes that blood donation is a voluntary community service, unlike the U.S. where donors are reimbursed.
“It keeps the blood system as public, despite some efforts to privatize it,” said Muzin, who has donated in Montreal, Regina, Whitehorse, Prince George and Vancouver. “I’ve seen the end result of blood donations from working in hospitals. Blood donations help people in surgery, in emergency situations and more. I’ve seen the good it does.”
There is no charge to donate blood.
“This a unique way to give back, and save someone’s life,” said Gayle Voyer, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services.
The non-profit is always in need of new donors.
Voyer said demand for blood is based on the needs of hospitals.
“In the Courtenay-Comox area, we have great support, and that is so appreciated.”
She encourages volunteers to bring a friend the next time they donate.
The next local donor clinics are Feb. 25, 26 and 27 at the Native Sons Hall, and March 24, 25 and 26 at the Filberg.
FMI: Call 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or visit Blood.ca. The website offers an eligibility quiz.
CBS also offers an app called Give Blood, a free download to help book appointments and provide reminders of events.