The lifeblood of any community is volunteers like Chemainus’ Keith and Marianne Palou willing to provide a lifesaving gift.
The Palous are longtime blood donors whose contributions have helped countless others. Both were at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan July 4 to donate blood again.
Blood has often been in short supply in recent years, but the Palous have always made sure to do their part whenever they can.
You can only make so many donations in a year, but their remarkable totals speak to their commitment.
Keith has now donated 158 times and Marianne 52 for a remarkable 210 between them. Marianne’s son Jeremy Mann of Duncan has followed suit with 44 donations now to his credit.
Marianne said she did give blood a few times before she was with Keith, but most have been since.
With the implications of COVID restrictions limiting opportunities, Marianne added this was her first time donating again in three years.
Keith said donations all began for him after graduating from Chemainus Secondary School and seeing a sign during his first year at Malaspina College (the previous name of Vancouver Island University) in the fall of 1977.
“They had it up in the cafeteria,” he recalled. “My dad was also heavy into donating at that time.”
Keith also began to donate blood during the early 1980s when clinics were set up at the Crofton mill where he worked.
It just accelerated from there and Keith never hesitated to keep donating.
“It’s just something that’s definitely needed,” he said. “It doesn’t take much effort on my part. I just sat in the chair.
“You’re in and out of there in less than an hour. They’ve streamlined it now.”
“He inspired my son to give,” Marianne said of her husband. “There’s always a shortage and it’s everywhere, too.”
Keith tries to donate blood 4-5 times a year, but “stuff always happens, you’re away or not feeling well or something.
“You’re allowed six times a year. Every two months is the soonest you can donate.”
Keith once considered 150 donations a goal, but he’s now surpassed that. He’s now zeroing in on making it to 175 before too long and potentially hitting the 200 mark eventually.
Marianne has an A+ blood type and Keith a B+.
“That’s my motto in life, be positive,” reasoned Keith.