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Guinness Book of World Records | Canva

The World’s Most Generous Blood Donor Lives in Central Alberta

At 81, Josephine Michaluk not only surpasses a world record with 209 blood donations but inspires an entire community in Central Alberta to donate

Mayor Yareau said it best. “We know we have exceptional people in Penhold.”

Josephine Michaluk is one community member who not only stands out in Penhold, she is genuinely the best in the world!

The 81-year-old holds the world record for blood donation. 

Since she was 22 years old, she’s given blood 209 times.

After her 200th visit to give blood, Josephine’s daughter pointed out that it had to be some kind of a record.

“I knew it was for Red Deer and area, maybe Alberta” – and she said, ‘No mom, I bet it’s a world record,’” Josephine told CBC News.

It turns out her daughter was right.

By a whole lot, too. 

The previous world record in blood donation for a woman was 117 units donated by Madhura Ashok Kumar of India.

Josephine has nearly doubled that.

Josephine Michaluk | CTV News


Getting up to that number of donated units throughout your life takes a ton of dedication.

Especially when you can only donate blood a maximum of six times a year, and sometimes not at all.

Josephine had many years where she couldn’t give blood due to pregnancy or surgery – but as soon as she was able, she kept coming back.

“They do need blood all the time; there’s so many people waiting for surgeries, and they don’t have the blood, so I just donate all I can, ” she said.

She also knows how crucial blood donation can be. 

There have been points in her life where Josephine needed blood herself.

“I’ve had two miscarriages. The first time, I had two pints given to me, and then a few years later, I had another one, and the second time, I needed three pints.”

That’s the equivalent of five blood donations. The experiences left her acutely aware of how much blood it often takes for patients to recover.

“So I thought, well, I’m gonna keep donating ’cause you don’t know when that’s gonna happen. And I was so thankful to have those five pints that saved my life.”

The 209 units of blood she’s donated have made a massive difference for many people.

It Takes a Village 

But, even with all that she’s given, she’s hoping to inspire others to do the same.

Josephine has partnered with the Canadian Blood Services over the last month to encourage others in Central Alberta to give through a campaign called “Penhold Cares.”

“We are encouraging residents of Penhold and Central Alberta to head into Red Deer and donate blood this month. To make things a little more fun, we are challenging all other areas of Central Alberta to see which region can bring in the most donors,” said Mayor Yareau.

The challenge ends in February, and we’ll soon see which area gave the most.

However, Red Deer Blood Services is still in great need, so if you haven’t gotten the chance to take part, now is the best time to give.

A Simple Process

Blood Donation is a simple process, and it feels good to give back. According to Josephine, it even gives her an energy boost.

“I always have so much energy each time… like I can be washing my walls, do my spring cleaning every time after I donate!”

While not everyone may be as vibrant as this 81-year-old, there’s no question that it feels good to give.

According to Red Deer’s Canadian Blood Services, they have a core group of loyal donors who, much like Josephine, come back repeatedly.

Despite their efforts, the Red Deer Donor Centre consistently receives fewer donations than needed.

“We’re not hitting 100 percent in our Red Deer Donor Centre, and that’s why we need to remind people that there is only one way to get blood to the patients, and that’s by their donations,” said representative Shamus Neeson to Red Deer News Now.

If you’re eligible to give – now is the time.

As Josephine said, she’d love it if someone gave her a run for her money with that record.

“I’m doing all I can –  I just hope more people will do it.”

The Red Deer Donor Centre is located at #5 5020 68th Street and is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

You can find more info about donating here.

Blood Donors | Canva
Blood Donors | Canva

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