Pastor Victor Cuarto just finished giving his 55th blood donation and invites people who can give blood to do so.
"Five of those times were whole blood and after that, I got invited to give platelets because I have a very high platelet count. I can give those twice a month, which is why in three and a half years I've been able to give 55 times," says Cuarto.
This week is National Blood Donor Week running from June 13–19, 2021.
"The idea is for the public to know that all throughout this pandemic the need for blood has not gone down, it is constant. We need more and more Canadians to give blood."
By going online, people can check if they are eligible to give blood. Often, if people are fit and healthy, they will be able to. Under 10 per cent of Canadians that are able to donate do.
"Some people would really only start giving blood after a loved one needed blood, and they saw how important it was to have blood in the blood banks. I would encourage people to not wait for that," he says.
Cuarto is one of four pastors at Filipino United Community Church.
"It's one of the most literal ways you can give yourself to others. I think as a follower of Christ I see the symbolic giving of one's life to others. When our Saviour gave His life on a cross, He gave it all. He gave His life for us, so when I give blood I see it in a spiritual sense."
He sees the physical act of donating blood as a show of love for people.
"I always pray for the recipients who will be receiving the blood, that they will be blessed and the Lord will extend their lives," says Cuarto.