Blood donations keep brothers alive

Both boys are living with a genetic condition that prevents the body from making proteins that protect the immune system and fight off infection.

Brothers Cadence and Cohen Haaland need regular blood transfusions to keep them alive

Cadence and Cohen Haaland receive monthly blood transfusions. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

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."

Brothers Cohen and Cadence pose for a picture with their mother, Carissa Haaland at the Canadian Blood Services donation centre in Saskatoon. (Madeline Kotzer/CBC News)

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 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


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.