Santa visits Red Deer to give the gift of life

By Sheldon Spackman
December 8, 2017 - 2:27pm Updated: December 8, 2017 - 3:00pm

Santa Claus made a stop in Red Deer on Friday to deliver an early Christmas present.

He visited Canadian Blood Services to give the gift of life by donating blood and encourage others to do the same this holiday season.

One local family was on hand to say ‘Thank You’ to Santa, as just last year they needed blood to help their seriously-ill daughter, 8-year-old Parker Berry who was suffering from ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura) last summer.

Parker’s father Adam Berry, says they were at RDC in June of 2016 for his daughter’s year-end dance recital. However, his daughter and many of her fellow dancers were dealing with flu-like symptoms and feeling ill at the time.

“She missed the following week of school and we were in and out of our hospital in Lacombe in the E.R., just getting her checked-out and making sure it wasn’t anything serious,” said Berry. “Finally, the one trip the doctor said we’re going to have to take her blood and check it. He came back about an hour later and said ‘An ambulance is on the way, they’re going to take you guys up to the Stollery in Edmonton.”

Berry says his daughter was bleeding internally and her platelet count was down to one, with the normal count being from 50-450.

“We were in for 11 days,” continued Berry. “At the time we were in there, they obviously have to rule everything else out, so ITP was kind of a last diagnosis, so they had to check for other blood diseases and they had to check for leukemia, so she had bone-marrow tests.“

Berry explains that his daughter lost 40 per cent of her blood during the time she was sick and before she got to the E.R., all from bleeding internally.

“Basically, it was her body’s reaction to a virus,” said Berry. “Now that virus is cleared and she’s been healthy ever since.”

Shaun Richer is Territory Manager with Canadian Blood Services and says December can be a slow time of year for donations but the need never stops.

“Red Deer – central Alberta is a very giving community and we see it all the time but again, this is an opportunity for us to say ‘Thank You’ to them but also encourage new donors to come into the clinic and visit us.”

To book you’re appointment to donate blood, visit, call 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or download the Give Blood App.

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