Calgary

Boy with cancer urges blood donations to flow

A boy living with cancer hopes Calgarians will roll up their sleeves and let the donations flow, saying he wouldn’t be alive today without them.

Blood agency has 1,000 open spaces in Calgary alone over 2-week Christmas period

Foster Garrison has had 1,221 days of chemotherapy treatment, his mom says. (Mike Symington/CBC)

A boy living with cancer hopes Calgarians will roll up their sleeves and let the donations flow, saying he wouldn't be alive today without them.

"They had to take some of my good and bad blood and replace it with good blood," Foster Garrison said Tuesday at a blood drive in downtown Calgary.

"I wouldn't have a lot of good blood if these people weren't here because they are donating good blood and that could really help me."

Garrison had just turned four when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, his mother said.

"He has just completed 1,221 days of chemotherapy treatment," Candace Inkpen said of his progress, with a smile.

It's been a learning process, especially around how much blood is needed.

Candace Inkpen says they didn't know how much blood was needed for chemotherapy, before her son Foster Garrison, 8. was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia after his 4th birthday. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"Not just for what you would think, but for chemotherapy patients as well. We didn't know that until we went through out our journey, how many transfusions these little kids need. Without them, this little guy wouldn't be around."

The Calgary chapter of Canadian Blood Services has about 1,000 open spaces for donations between Dec. 23 and Jan. 6.

"It's a gift that keeps on giving," Inkpen said.

"It is so easy to do, it's so easy to give blood."

Currently men who have sex with men — the only group specifically targeted in this way — can't donate if they've been sexually active in the last three months which critics call discriminatory.

Other eligibility criteria applies to all donors.

With files from Mike Symington

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