Sailor reaches milestone donation

It’s just another day at the blood bank for LS Robert Hull. What’s unique is it is his 500th donation.

It’s just another day at the blood bank for LS Robert Hull. What’s unique is it is his 500th donation.

Lt(N) Melissa Kia, HMCS Malahat PAO ~

LS Robert Hull of HMCS Malahat eases into a donation chair at the Victoria Canadian Blood Services Clinic as if he’s sitting down at his favourite park bench.

After 34 years of donating whole blood and platelets, he has achieved a milestone which few people reach.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 3, marked his 500th blood donation.

LS Hull, unassuming about his feat, likens his bi-weekly donation to stopping off for a coffee with friends.

“After so many years it is just a habit to come down to the clinic and give,” he says as the pumps whirl in the background.

When queried about how he got started, LS Hull says, “I guess I was just curious when I started donating. I still remember my first time, I was only 18 years old. I went down to the clinic in St. John’s, NL, after my father was diagnosed with stage four cancer. Cancer took both of my grandfathers, so I wanted to do something to help.” 

Feeling like he could make a difference in the lives of cancer patients, and all Canadians who were in need of blood, kept LS Hull going back time and again for the next three decades.

“I learned that cancer patients desperately need blood and platelets as part of their treatment,” he said.

Though his father beat the odds, and survived his bout with the disease, LS Hull was hooked on donating. Going back to give became a part of his lifestyle.

Patricia Willms, a spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services, could not overstate the importance of LS Hull’s record donation.

“Though I don’t have the national statistics on hand, I can assure you that very few Canadians ever reach a 500th donation,” says Willms. “To reach such an achievement is a huge deal. For men, they can donate whole blood about six times a year, and platelets about once every two weeks maximum. They also have to pass a screening to ensure they haven’t been to any countries which are considered malarial risks. Five hundred donations represents an incredible commitment on the part of the donor.”

LS Hull says he is not interested in his donation count, but rather how many people he can help.

“Just think, if I donate 500 times, and each donation helps three people, that’s 1,500 people. Ultimately, what I really hope is that someone else picks up my habit. Imagine if just one person donated bi-weekly too, how exponential the effect could be in terms of helping others. After all it’s right there in the slogan: It’s in you to give.”

Canadian Blood Services will be at the Chief’s and Petty Officer’s Mess on Monday, Nov.18 for a blood drive. Interested members can sign up to give by visiting or by downloading the “Give Blood” app. Members can also call Canadian Blood Services at 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).          

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