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Largest Canadian Blood Services site opens at Eau Claire

Last Updated Sep 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm MDT

(Crystal Laderas - 660 NEWS)

A Canadian Blood Services site on pace to collect more than 32,000 units of whole blood is now open at Calgary’s Eau Claire Market.

The organization held its grand opening on Tuesday with an 11-year-old boy telling the crowd how 34 blood transfusions and a donation from his brother kept him alive.

“It means a lot to me because otherwise I’d probably be dead or they’d have to gather stem cells from someone else, that would most likely take longer,” said Sloan McGinn-Thompson, who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was two.

His older brother Ryder was four years old when Sloan was going through treatment.

“When they took out all my blood I was on a cart and they were running me through the elevator and everywhere and then I fell back asleep,” said Ryder.

“I was rather, kind of happy that I was with Sloan and doing a good thing. I knew I was doing something good.”

Sloan has been cancer-free for nine years, but his mother Karin McGinn explained he may have developed some heart complications as a result of chemotherapy treatment. She said the family will be regulars at the Alberta Children’s Hospital for years, but Sloan has been given the opportunity to be a regular kid who will live a long life.

“There’s not enough words in the English vocabulary to express my gratitude and life to these strangers that come in here and give blood so generously and so selflessly because it has saved someone’s life,” she said.

The Canadian Blood Services site at Eau Claire Market has 20 beds and is the largest permanent collection site in the country.

This year, it will collect five per cent of the combined national total for all blood donations.