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Higher demand for blood donors during summer prompts plea from Hema-Quebec

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Paramedic Remy Gauthier made his 30th donation at Hema-Quebec's GLOBULE blood donor centre in Kirkland on Thursday.

"It's an easy way to make the world a better place in a way," says Gauthier, adding that helping those in need is something he does on the job every day.

"Giving plasma is another way for me to do that ... It only takes an hour of my free time," he said.

And he's not alone.

Aldo Fuoco is among the people dedicating their time to helping others. He's been volunteering at Hema-Quebec for the past fifteen years.

"You help people, and plus you get to meet a lot of people. New donors, first of all. So we encourage them to keep giving blood because we need the blood," says Fuoco.

That's why Hema-Quebec's only West Island location held an open-door event, hoping to recruit more people to give the gift of life.

"Even if most of us are on vacation right now, blood needs in Quebec hospitals don't take any vacation," says Patrice Lavoie, director of public affairs for Hema-Quebec.

Summer requires more than 500 additional blood donations due to the higher number of accidents, says Lavoie.

"In a car accident, if you lose a lot of blood, you'll need all the components. Plasma, all the red cells, platelets ... because it went away, so you need to replace them," says Stephanie Alleyn, a Hema-Quebec nurse.

Hema-Quebec was expecting about 70 donors during its open-door visit on Thursday.

People were invited to give blood, book an appointment or simply become more familiar with the process, including learning their blood type.

For those afraid to donate, Lavoie says knowing how much you're helping others can help beat the fear.

"The donation that I give today might help close to four people. So when you think about it, it's amazing," says Lavoie.

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