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Front-line workers give gift of life

In 2003, Ottawa police Const. Claudio Escobar was hit by an impaired driver while on duty.

In 2003, Ottawa police Const. Claudio Escobar was hit by an impaired driver while on duty.

The husband and father suffered a massive traumatic injury, including a tear to his thoracic aorta and to his diaphragm. He also suffered a collapsed left lung and broke almost all of his ribs on the left side of his chest.

He underwent consecutive emergency surgeries, receiving upwards of 75 units of blood.
The transfusions saved his life, he said.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the blood donations I received,” said Escobar, who, along with fellow police officers and paramedics, attended the Ottawa blood donor clinic yesterday to make a donation and to kick off the Canadian Blood Services’ Sirens for Life challenge.

The annual campaign has front-line emergency workers, including members of paramedics, police and fire services, giving blood.

“After receiving donations from thousands of strangers, I thought it was my obligation to make people aware that ... one blood donation can potentially save three lives,” said Escobar, now a CBS spokesperson.

“It’s a good cause,” said Const. Stephen Carroll, a regular blood donor. “In my line of work, you see a number of occasions with accidents and people involved in serious accidents and victims of crime.”

“I’m out here to support the cause,” said first-time donor Francois Coté with the Ottawa paramedics. “I know that Canadian Blood Services is about to get into a busy season. Summer is always busy. We always get a lot of trauma and require a lot of blood.”

“Emergency services responders are the ones that actually see the direct impact that it has, the impact that our blood donors have on people in general,” said Steven Tipman, director of donor and clinic services for northeast Ontario and Nunavut region.