Blood donation competition earns P.E.I. man national recognition

A 24-year-old P.E.I. man was in Ottawa this week to receive an Honouring Canada's Lifeline award for his work recruiting blood donors at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Founding a blood donation club wasn't enough for Clay Corney

Clay Corney on stage in Ottawa to receive his Canadian Blood Services award. (Canadian Blood Services)

A 24-year-old P.E.I. man was in Ottawa this week to receive an award from Canadian Blood Services for recruiting blood donors at the University of Prince Edward Island.

For Clay Corney, encouraging blood donations is personal. When he was 15 he suffered a collapsed lung. Over the next three years it happened repeatedly, requiring seven surgeries — and those surgeries required blood donated by volunteers.

"It's a source that we never think that we need until we do," said Corney, noting there is lots of room for growth in blood donations.

"Only about four per cent of Canadians who are eligible to donate, do."

He said it can take him as little as five minutes to donate.

The spirit of competition

Two years ago he launched a blood donation club at UPEI, and it attracted five to 15 people every three months to donate blood. But Corney felt he could do better.

He turned his focus to existing clubs on campus, and encouraging them to donate.

"Go and get those groups to try to have a competition," was his suggestion, he said.

That competition happened in March, and Canadian Blood Services says it resulted in a 300 per cent increase in potential donors.

Corney said while he was pleased by the result, he was humbled by the work of some of the other award winners of Honouring Canada's Lifeline he met in Ottawa.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Island Morning


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