London, Ont. blood donor events celebrate patient’s ongoing recovery

Peter Regan, who has been fighting leukemia, is well known for his community service

Inspiration
October 20, 2020
Featured image of Lissa Regan and Judy Howard standing outside of a home.

Dozens of Peter Regan’s friends and family members will donate blood during a series of donor events this month in London, Ont. The events celebrate not only Peter’s  65th birthday and his longstanding community service, but also his ongoing recovery from leukemia.

“It’s been a difficult and emotional year for Peter, our family and all our friends,” says Lissa Regan, Peter’s wife of 42 years. “Lots of ups and downs.”

In February 2020, Peter suddenly felt very tired and was having trouble breathing, so he went to a hospital emergency department. Within hours, doctors diagnosed him with sudden onset acute myeloid leukemia. The next day, he began a three-week regime of daily chemotherapy. 

Since then, Peter has also received more than 30 transfusions each of whole blood and platelets, and the leukemia went into remission. In August, doctors at London Health Sciences Centre successfully transplanted stem cells donated by Peter’s sister. His health continues to improve.

What are stem cells?

How do I donate stem cells?

“Peter’s spirits are rising, he’s slowly getting his energy back and his blood markers are all good,” says Lissa. “It’s been quite a journey and we’re so grateful for the wonderful care he’s received.” 

Peter and Lissa are also thankful for their exceptionally strong support network. Along with four daughters and two grandchildren, the couple is blessed with a long list of friends, including many who share the family’s commitment to community service. They are particularly close with the Howard family, who live two doors down.

“We’ve known each other for 36 years,” says Judy Howard. “Our kids grew up together and we’ve continually been involved in various fundraisers, charities and volunteer activities. School councils, church events, corn roasts, bottle drives, door-to-door canvassing…you name it, our families have done it. We’ve even served meals at one of London’s missions.”

Peter volunteered for the local Optimist Club for decades, and coached and refereed youth soccer and football for more than 40 years.

Image of Stem Cell recipient Peter Regan with his two grandchildren Sydney and Thomas Irvine sitting outside nearby a pool in the backyard


Peter Regan enjoys the summer weather with two of his grandchildren, Sydney and Thomas Irvine.

“I felt so helpless about Peter’s leukemia,” says Judy. “I’ve donated blood regularly for about the last 10 years and it was while donating this summer that I got the idea to organize a blood drive.”  

During the next of their regular Friday night get-togethers, Judy and Lissa discussed the donor event, and decided to call it People Live When People Give.

“Both of us recognize that while lots of people are able to donate, few actually do,” says Lissa. “I used to donate blood, for instance, but fell out of the habit. So we contacted Canadian Blood Services and started organizing a series of donor events.”

The families tapped into their networks and the appointments quickly began to book up. The first events took place on Oct. 14 and 16, and they hope many more donors will schedule appointments for the next two, on Oct. 20 and 22. Donations made at other events can also be credited to the People Live When People Give campaign by following the instructions provided below. Several donors have already chosen that option.

Image of Stem cell recipient wife Lissa Regan and Judy Howard sitting on an outside sofa holding wine glasses about to toast each other


Lissa Regan and Judy Howard on a Friday evening before the pandemic.

How can I donate blood?

Am I eligible to donate blood?

“The fact that friends, family, work colleagues and fellow referees booked so quickly shows just how special Peter is,” says Judy.  

“The donor events are a great way to encourage others to emulate Peter’s community service,” says Lissa.    

The need for blood is constant, and there are many donation appointments available at the donor centre in London, Ont. and at others across Canada. To book your own appointment to donate blood, visit blood.ca/donate, download the GiveBlood app or call 1 888 2 DONATE. Enhanced safety measures are in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

To participate in People Live When People Give – Peter Regan’s Blood Drive: 
Go to blood.ca/donate 
Log into or create your blood.ca account 
Select PFL organizations from the menu 
Add PFL ID PEOP0090774 and select “Join the team”  

Canadian Blood Services also encourages group donations (three or more donors). To learn more, visit the Partners for Life section of our website.

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