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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — It began with a easy request.
“Why don’t you include me? It gained’t damage you,” mentioned Ewen Stewart’s buddy.
And off they went to donate blood.
That was 1951, and Stewart has been donating blood – and finally plasma — ever since.
Now, at 90 years outdated, Stewart has given his final donation, setting an all-time P.E.I. excessive of 1,162 donations.
The employees and folks he has met have saved him going via seven many years of giving, Stewart mentioned in a June 13 SaltWire interview on the Canadian Blood Companies donor centre in Charlottetown.
However 1,162 donations marked the tip of the road.
“You possibly can’t go on perpetually,” he mentioned with amusing. “I had a birthday three months in the past, and I mentioned I needed to go 10 instances after my birthday.”
June 13 was No. 10, he mentioned.
Stewart, who spoke to the media with an IV nonetheless in his arm, plans to maintain coming again to go to his mates on the clinic.
In his time donating, Stewart has seen some modifications. One important second was introducing plasma providers in 1997, which he began doing each week, as a substitute of giving complete blood each 56 days.
A couple of dozen family and friends members attended Stewart’s final donation on Fitzroy Road.
“I feel they’re right here as a result of they know I gained’t be again,” Stewart mentioned.
Beth Robinson, Stewart’s daughter, is extraordinarily happy with her father’s efforts, she mentioned in a SaltWire interview on the donor centre.
“I’m so impressed. He’s a devoted individual for certain.”
She has been a blood donor prior to now and is occupied with giving plasma, she mentioned, noting plasma donations are a lot simpler on the donor’s physique.
Most individuals cease giving blood and plasma of their 70s, however her father — who was a marathon runner in his youthful days — was wholesome sufficient to maintain giving till 90. He simply needed to get a yearly sign-off from his physician, Robinson mentioned.
“However I feel when you’re 90 you possibly can take a break.”
One employees member on the blood clinic, Sheila McKillop, has identified Stewart for over 20 years. It’s unhappy to see him go, she mentioned in an interview on the clinic.
“We’ve seen him each Tuesday for the final 23 years, so it’s going to be laborious understanding he’s not coming in that spot on Tuesday.”
Whereas many donors share that week-by-week consistency, nobody matches Stewart’s longevity. The one different donor who comes shut has additionally topped 1,000, she added.
McKillop supplied some recommendation for people who find themselves nervous about giving blood, typically due to the needle.
“They need to strive it at the least as soon as,” she mentioned. “Lots of people, the first-time donors, normally begin off with full blood. And after they’ve completed donating, they are saying ‘That’s not as dangerous as I believed it was going to be.’ We take excellent care of the first-time donors.”
A June 9 press launch from Canadian Blood Companies says Stewart was P.E.I.’s first individual to succeed in 1,000 donations, simply over 4 years in the past.
“Due to his ongoing dedication and dedication, many sufferers’ lives have been saved. … He donates plasma each week, a blood element that’s used to assist deal with bleeding problems, liver ailments and lots of varieties of most cancers.”
Logan MacLean is a reporter with SaltWire in Charlottetown. He be reached by electronic mail at [email protected] or on Twitter @loganmaclean94.