Thanking returning donors in a time of need
After 48 years, Reverend Kevin Cox returned to donate blood to help patients during COVID-19
This spring, Reverend Kevin Cox has faced a very concerned parish in the midst of a pandemic.
When provincial restrictions forced Newport Pastoral Charge in Newport, N.S. to close its doors, he began delivering his sermons live every Sunday on the church’s Facebook page. Kevin’s parishioners worried about the state of the world, how long they would have to remain in isolation, and what they could do to help their community.
“When faced with hard times, the church community always asks, ‘what then shall we do?’” says Kevin.
For him, an answer came during an address by Justin Trudeau, in which the prime minister called on Canadians to donate blood during the pandemic.
“The community was afraid and focused on everything they couldn’t do anymore because of the lockdown,” he says. “I decided that donating blood was the one thing we could do.”
He decided to lead by example. Kevin had donated blood once before, nearly fifty years ago. Then, too, he’d been moved by a traumatic event: the death of his father in a farming accident when Kevin was just 18 years old. His father had needed many blood transfusions, but unfortunately did not survive his severe injuries.
“I always knew donating blood was something I should do, for him,” Kevin says.
Still, going back to donate a second time required Kevin to overcome some fear.
Note to self: read the pamphlet
Kevin’s first donation hadn’t gone well, though he blames himself for the lousy experience.
“I should have read the pamphlet,” he joked. “The donation itself was smooth. But then I decided to go for a five-mile run soon after. Then I headed to the library to study.”
At the time, Kevin was a student at the University of Western Ontario. He was so focused on his studies that he also decided to skip dinner.
“I passed out for three hours and woke up, still in the library,” he recalls.
If Kevin had read the pamphlet, he would have learned that after donating blood, one should avoid physical activity for the rest of the day and have a snack or meal soon after.
“I felt it was my calling”
When Kevin walked into the blood donor centre in Halifax on April 2, he was amazed by the changes since that first donation.
“Of course, after nearly 50 years, I expected the process of collecting blood to be much different. I found the technology quite comforting. The system has come so far,” says Kevin. “I assumed the environment would have been very clinical, cold and rushed but it was the complete opposite. The staff were warm, professional and welcoming. The entire process was very safe. And it was so nice to be able to talk to other people.”
Kevin praised the blood donation experience later during his next live Facebook sermon. He encouraged his ministry to book their appointments to help those patients who still need blood transfusions. He vowed to come back and be a regular blood donor.
“This is something you can do that is positive and there is no downside. If you haven’t donated blood in a long time, I highly recommend coming back,” he says. “My one piece of advice though – don’t go running after…and read the pamphlet.”