British Columbia

Canada's oldest blood donor, 'Granny Bea,' still giving at 95

Beatrice Janyk started giving blood after her late husband nearly died from the blood he received after a sawmill accident.

Beatrice Janyk has been donating blood since the 1940s

Beatrice Janyk, 95, winks while donating blood at Canada Blood Services. According to the organization, Janyk is Canada's oldest blood donor. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

Every 56 days, Coquitlam's Beatrice Janyk visits a blood clinic, rolls up her sleeve and donates a pint of blood. 

The 95-year-old, who introduces herself as "Granny Bea," has been donating blood regularly for seven decades. 

On Wednesday, she was honoured by Canadian Blood Services as Canada's oldest active blood donor. 

"My blood can save a baby," she told CBC's Jake Costello. "I'm so grateful I can give."

Janyk was born in St. Vincent, a small community in Northern Alberta, in August 1922. Her mother died during childbirth and Janyk, the youngest of seven, was adopted by a family on a neighbouring farm.   

She started giving blood after her late husband nearly died — not from the sawmill accident he was in but from the blood he received afterwards.

"Somebody who had had yellow jaundice gave blood," Janyk said. "My husband who got it nearly died from the jaundice … I think that's when I started being aware to help."

'Attitude and gratitude'

Janyk says she doesn't know exactly how much blood she has given over the years.

During a stint living in Bellingham, Wash. with her sons, she donated 20 gallons of blood — the equivalent of about 170 donations — and has given at least that much in Canada.

"I take seven vitamins each night and I think that's what really keeps me going," the energetic great-grandmother said.

Other than vitamins, she takes no medication and said although her doctor is wonderful, she rarely sees him.

Beatrice Janyk drinks a juice box before donating blood on Wednesday. (The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck )

Recovering after a donation is "not a thing," she said, and she feels "just great" after leaving the chair. 

"I go on my left arm because I use my right arm and hand all the time to make my rosaries," Janyk said. "So they take blood from my left arm and 20 minutes [later], I'm up and getting a cup of coffee."

She said she hopes her story encourages others to give blood as well.

"If we can encourage others to give, it would be so, so joyful," she said. "Attitude and gratitude to me is what it's all about."

Blood donors must be at least 17 years old, in good health and meet other eligibility requirements. Interested blood donors can make an appointment online or walk in to a donation site.

With files from Jake Costello and The Early Edition.

now