COLUMN: Blood drive honours Penny Lett

For the months of July and August, the ‘In Memory of Penny Lett Blood Clinic’ will take place at Broadway Church in Chilliwack.

For the months of July and August

“I’m off to go bleed now.”

That was something my dear friend, and former coworker, Penny Lett would say religiously, every eight weeks, always on a Monday.

She was referring to donating blood.

One day, about 13 years ago when I first started working at The Progress, I asked her about donating. She said she made a promise to herself to donate blood for as long as she could after someone close to her suddenly needed blood.

She highly recommended that I do the same.

“Sure,” I thought. “Why not?”

So I did, and I’ve been donating ever since.

I’ve always admired Penny and her dedication to donating blood. She donated an incredible 125 times before she passed away earlier this year in March.

I later learned those 125 donations meant that she actually helped save 375 lives since each unit of blood is separated into three parts — red blood cells, platelets and plasma.

I don’t know very many people who can claim that they’ve helped save 375 lives.

So to honour Penny and her dedication to Canadian Blood Services, I’m going to be like Penny and I am encouraging other people to donate blood as part of CBS’s Partners For Life (PFL) program.

For the months of July and August, the ‘In Memory of Penny Lett Blood Clinic’ will take place at Broadway Church here in Chilliwack.

The goal is to collect 125 units of blood, this year alone, to match Penny’s 125 donations. Since I can’t donate that many units of blood on my own during 2013, I need your help.

This is a community effort where we, the people of Chilliwack and beyond, pledge to donate 125 units of blood for 2013 as part of the PFL program.

Those wishing to donate and help reach the 125-unit goal need to sign up to be part of the ‘In Memory of Penny Lett’ PFL team.

You can do so either in advance online, or you can fill out a form during one of the five ‘Penny Lett’ blood clinics in Chilliwack during the months of July and August.

The great thing is that your donations are retroactive for the year. So if you’ve already donated this year, when you sign up for PFL, your previous donations in 2013 are also counted to the 125-unit goal.

The other great thing is that this is not a Chilliwack-only event. Any eligible donor in Canada can take part.

If you wish to sign up online, go to www.blood.ca/partnersforlife. Click ‘Join Partners For Life’ (blue box), click ‘Member’ (red box), then fill in our team’s Partner ID (INME013882), and your personal information. (Note: for question “Are you an employee or member of this organization?”, click ‘yes’).

The five ‘Penny’ clinics take place on July 8, 12, 22, Aug. 5 and 19. All of the clinics will be held at Broadway Church (46611 Maple Ave.).

Penny loved cats, so we are also collecting donations of canned and dry cat food. Those who sign up for Partners For Life, make a blood donation, and bring a cat food donation during the July/August clinics will receive a gift from Minter Country Garden store.

In addition to signing up to be part of the ‘Penny Lett’ Partners For Life team, you still have to make an appointment to donate blood by calling 1-888-2-DONATE.

There is also an event on Facebook entitled ‘In Memory of Penny Lett Blood Drive’.

Related story:June 11 – The time to donate blood is now

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