"My message to donors is this: you might not see the change you’re making, but you’re allowing someone else’s life to continue. You’re contributing to a patient seeing another birthday."
Over the last decade, Clay has both benefited from and become a strong advocate for Canada’s national blood system.
From age 15 to 18, Clay experienced four collapsed lungs. As a result, he needed seven surgeries — all of which required having blood products on hand. Despite the odds, he was able to return to running and sports by his senior year of high school.
Today, Clay is a kinesiology student at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI), with dreams of going to Scotland to complete a master’s degree in physiotherapy.
He is also a member of Canadian Blood Services’ Atlantic Regional Liaison Committee, as well as the current president of his university’s blood donation club. Earlier this year, the club held its inaugural UPEI Blood Rush: a month-long challenge between UPEI societies that resulted in a 300 per cent surge in potential donors. Moving forward, Clay hopes to also launch a cross-promotional program between Canadian Blood Services and the university’s athletics division.
“Having needed blood products myself, what I do is my way of giving back,” Clay says. “Plus, being on the sports medicine side of things, I see athletes in need of blood quite often. This is my way of ensuring that when they go down, they can get back up.”