A donor’s connection to his community drives decades of giving

Part of our ‘heroes of financial giving’ series

November 12, 2020
Thumbnail image of Bob Kerr wearing a Canadian Blood Services T-shirt standing in front of a white wall.

Once every couple of months, Bob Kerr wakes up a little earlier than usual on a Saturday morning and heads down to his local Canadian Blood Services clinic.

He usually arrives around 6:45 a.m., giving himself just enough time to unlock the doors, turn on the lights and greet the driver, who pulls up at 7 a.m. sharp to set up for the monthly blood donor event.

While the clinic beds and other equipment and supplies are being arranged, Bob takes his usual position at the refreshments table, meticulously laying out drinks and snacks in preparation for the hungry blood donors who will be stopping by throughout the day. By the time the clinic doors open at 9 a.m. and people begin filing in, Bob’s wide smile can’t be contained as he prepares to meet new donors and catch up with some of his favourite clinic regulars.

Despite the early morning start — and the fact that he has been volunteering at Canadian Blood Services events like this for more than two decades — Bob never gets tired of giving back to his community.

Bob first got involved with Canadian Blood Services 20 years ago, as a member of his local Masonic lodge. When he and his fellow Freemasons began providing volunteer assistance for various blood donor clinics in the area, Bob also started learning about the importance of the national blood supply system.

He said that once he understood the lifesaving connections between Canadian Blood Services and his community, he felt compelled to make a difference. He stepped forward to help coordinate clinic volunteers and collect financial donations, and he hasn’t stopped since.

“Over the years, I just kept going because I enjoyed what I was doing so much — it just seemed natural to me,” said Bob, who also fondly recounts spending many years volunteering alongside his wife, Audrey. Though she is no longer able to help with the clinics, Bob remains dedicated to carrying on this work for the two of them.

For the past 10 years, in addition to their volunteer efforts, Bob and Audrey have also been dedicated financial donors, giving monthly and year-end contributions that, over time, have had a significant impact on Canadian Blood Services’ programs.

“As a volunteer, I’ve seen the generosity of members of my community first-hand, and it made me want to do even more,” said Bob. “The clinics are practically in my own backyard, and that’s what really motivated me to start contributing financially.”

For Bob, his decades of support for Canadian Blood Services are connected to his love and passion for his community. The knowledge that his financial gifts could one day help save or improve the lives of his friends, neighbours or fellow volunteers is what inspires his ongoing, generous gifts.

Now in his 80s, Bob has taken a step back from his previously heavy load of volunteer commitments and coordination activities, but he’s still the first volunteer to arrive at those Saturday clinics and the last one to leave. He also continues to serve as volunteer coordinator for the regular blood donor clinics in Grimsby, Ont.

“I just love what I’m doing, so I’ll just keep on going,” said Bob.

Why monthly giving matters

Monthly financial donors like Bob help connect patients with the lifesaving blood products and services that they need, year-round.

Knowing that we can rely on monthly financial gifts helps Canadian Blood Services meet the needs of today’s patients while planning for a better tomorrow.

The continuous dedication of our monthly supporters helps to recruit the 112,000 new blood donors needed every year to keep Canada’s Lifeline going.

Celebrating our heroes of financial giving and their lifesaving impact 

At Canadian Blood Services, we need donors of all kinds to help support us in our quest to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian.  

Financial donors play an important role in strengthening Canada’s Lifeline, by helping us to grow and diversify our donor base and invest in cutting-edge research and technology that will help to meet ongoing and emerging patient needs.

That’s why this November, we’re celebrating our heroes of financial giving.

Financial supporters of Canadian Blood Services are generous individuals, organizations and partners from across the country who hold fundraisers, make monthly or annual financial contributions, invest in innovative research or honour their loved ones by helping to support patients.   

In celebration of National Philanthropy Day (Nov.15), we’re publishing a series of stories all month long, which profiles our growing community of financial supporters and recognizes how their generosity is helping us to catalyze meaningful change for patients and their families.  

Read our latest annual report to financial donors to learn more about the impact of financial gifts made in support of Canadian Blood Services.   


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