Family’s blood clinic inspires public to give
By DAVE DORMER, SUN MEDIA
In memory of his son, Evan, Frank Pogubila is asking Calgarians to give a gift that is literally straight from the heart.
Two years after Evan died at age 13 months following complications from a bone marrow transplant, Pogubila, wife Melanie and their daughter Jordan held the third annual donation clinic yesterday in Evan’s honour — the first held just before his transplant surgery — reminding Calgarians about the need to donate blood.
“It makes me feel good that we’re able to rally people to give back, because no matter how much money I have, no matter how much of anything I have, I cannot buy blood and blood products to give back,” Frank said at the Calgary Blood Donor Clinic yesterday.
“Basically it’s in you to give and the support we’ve seen has been awesome.”
Born with severe combined immunodeficiency, or SCID, Evan spent most of his short life in isolation in hospital — as he could not have skin-to-skin contact — where he regularly received blood transfusions to help his weakened immune system.
Performed in Toronto, the transplant was a success but Evan developed complications and died two months later.
“What really means a lot to myself and my family is when we hear people saying that because of a clinic like this, they joined the bone marrow registry and they have gotten calls and they have gone down the path of seeing whether or not they were a match,” said Frank.
“The more people we have in the system, the better chance someone like Evan or another little person who unfortunately needs it will have the opportunity of life.”
Each week, at least 1,500 units of blood need to be donated in southern Alberta, said Judy Jones, director of donor services at the clinic.
And each donation could save up to three lives, said Jones.
“One donation is one unit,” she said.
“Once they’re done, they go up to the lab and they are separated into three components, red blood cells, plasma and platelets.”
Another clinic is being held April 25 in Evan’s honour at the Calgary Blood Donor Clinic, 737 13 Ave. S.W.
For more information, call 1-888-236-6283 or visit http://www.blood.ca.