The blood that people donate in Saskatoon keeps Cadence and Cohen Haaland alive.
Both brothers are living with a genetic condition that prevents the body from making proteins that protect the immune system and fight off infection. The 10 and seven-year-old need monthly injections of a product made from plasma, a part of blood.
Although Cadence is only nine, he recognizes the difference that strangers’ donations of blood makes for him and his little brother.
“We have no immune system so we can get sick very, very easily," he said. "So it just means a lot to me that all the people here donate to us to help us stay healthy."
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) launched its annual Holiday Miracle campaign on Monday, which runs until January 4.
The campaign refers to those who donate blood as miracle workers, thanks to the lives they save. In Saskatchewan, 5000 donations are needed this holiday season.
Moira Kohlenberg, Canadian Blood Services' community development coordinator, said that during the holiday season, the need for blood in the province is great.
“Unfortunately there are more accidents [in December] so the need does go up," she said. "Yet this is the time when people are so busy...so it is harder for us to collect the amount of blood transfusions that we need to."
Nationally, one out of every two Canadians is eligible to donate blood. However, of those who are eligible, only four per cent do.
The CBS’s constant struggle is maintaining the blood supply. A donation of blood only lasts for 42 days. For the Haaland family, the donations make all the difference.
Cadence said he is thankful that people choose to donate blood to him and his brother, and he maintains that once you get used to it, needles aren't that scary.
"I was scared of needles before I started getting treatments," he said. "And the biggest number of times I have had to get poked in one day was 12 times."
Right now the CBS’s permanent collection site in Saskatoon is trying to fill appointments to keep stocked with blood for this holiday season.
To book an appointment to find out if you are eligible to donate blood, call 1-866-236-6283 or you can book your appointment online at www.blood.ca.