Harriston woman makes 150th blood donation

Linda Campbell urges others to give 'gift of life' whenever they can

HARRISTON – A local woman who recently made her 150th blood donation is urging others to give the “gift of life” whenever they can.

“It takes only one hour of your time. It’s an easy way to give to others and you never know when you might have a family member who needs it,” said Harriston resident Linda Campbell, who gave her first blood donation in 1962 while attending teachers’ college in Toronto.

Campbell moved from the Brampton area, with her husband Doug, who set up an automotive repair service in Harriston in 1969.

She began donating blood on a regular basis in 1983.

“We have family members who have received blood and probably wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t gotten blood,” she said.

“I think that was the main reason I started this.”

She added she also has friends who have benefited from receiving blood.

Campbell, who made her 100th donation in 2010, said donors were allowed to give blood every two months when she started out.

While that’s still the case for male donors, “in the last few years, they only let women give every three months,” due to the need to rebuild iron content, she explained.

Since she began donating in earnest, Campbell said she has seldom missed an opportunity.

“I think maybe once I forgot to go,” she recalled, adding that over the years she has been unable to donate about a half-dozen times because her iron levels were low.

Now in her 80s, Campbell noted she’s pleased a former restriction on donating after the age of 65 was lifted before it impacted her.

The COVID-19 pandemic was no obstacle, said Campbell, as Canadian Blood Services continued with clinics, adding masking and other safety requirements.

She also recalls she once called a friend for a ride because she didn’t want to drive through a winter storm.

“But I have never not given blood because of weather,” she said.

The restrictions on time between donations, combined with the schedule at local clinics, has meant Campbell has visited clinics in Palmerston, Mount Forest, Listowel, Walkerton and Drayton, in order to give as frequently as possible.

When she made her 150th donation on Aug. 1 in Mount Forest, her daughter Bonnie was with her and also arranged for a Zoom call at the clinic with siblings Heather and Shawn.

“I’ve inspired my daughters and they have given a total of about 110 donations,” she states proudly.

Campbell said she intends to continue donating blood as long as she is able and has made it her mission to encourage others to give as well.

“The big thing is to get as many people as possible to donate,” said Campbell. 

“It could mean life or death to others,” she added, noting “every 60 seconds, someone in Canada needs blood.” 

In addition to encouraging friends and family, Campbell is planning to be on hand to promote blood donations at an upcoming Wellness Clinic hosted by the local Seniors’ Centre for Excellence.

The clinic will be held on Oct. 20 from 10am to 2pm at the PMD arena in Drayton. 

Anyone interested in information on giving blood, or booking an appointment to donate can do so online at blood.ca or by call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).