Local first responders gave the gift of life Friday morning at the Red Deer Canadian Blood Services clinic.
Each year, the Sirens for Life challenge gets police officers, firefighters and paramedics off the street and into the hot seat for a day to donate blood, though thankfully not all at once.
A misty-eyed Inspector Heidi Wild with Red Deer RCMP donated Friday for the 21st time since the switchover from Canadian Red Cross to Canadian Blood Services in 1998. She says there's always somebody that needs blood.
"It's just something that you can do together as a group to make the world a better place is something good and important," she says. "Police officers deal with victims, especially at accidents and stuff like that all the time. Plus, our own get hurt regularly, so it's just a nice and easy way to do something good for the world."
Samantha Makey, a relative newcomer to the Red Deer County volunteer firefighting team, says growing up in Fort McMurray, she knew lots of people that needed blood.
"Not enough people donate, so this is a great opportunity for us to do our part and make sure everyone's okay. Everyone needs help and that's why I wanted to be a volunteer firefighter," she says.
With a long weekend upon us and summer right around the corner, Red Deer RCMP Superintendent Ken Foster says the need for blood will only rise if people aren't careful.
"If you're going out into the mountains and you're going to motorcycle or ATV or go boating, leave the beer in the cooler until you get back to the camp. More importantly, wear a helmet," he says. "There's legislation that just came into effect around ATVs and the need to wear a helmet, and that's another good step forward to helping save lives. People are in a hurry, I get it, you want to get to wherever you're going this weekend, but there's a lot of traffic, so take it easy and enjoy the journey."
The Red Deer clinic still needs to fill more than 260 appointments by the end of the month.
To book, download the GiveBlood app or visit Blood.ca.
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