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Despite fear of needles, Barrie blood donor marks 200th gift since 1980s

Murray Zaba inspired by his mother, a longtime volunteer in the community who was a blood donor and volunteer with the Red Cross
2022-01-13 BloodDonor-200th-MurrayZaba-1
Barrie resident Murray Zaba donated blood for the 200th time on Jan. 7, 2022.

On Jan. 7 at 11 a.m., Barrie's Murray Zaba reached a major milestone by rolling up his sleeve and donating blood for the 200th time in his life.

And it’s a significant milestone that few others have reached.

“I haven’t come across anyone close to me at 200 donations," he says.

Zaba says he gives blood every 56 days.

"I don’t think I’ve missed one in many, many years and it works out to about six-and-a-half times a year that I give blood," he says.

Zaba says he wants to do his part to help the community. 

“I just give because I know it helps other people and my mother Marion volunteered for a long time in the community and was a blood donor and volunteer with the Red Cross," he says. "She inspired me that way. My father also supported the community when he was in business.”

Zaba has been donating blood for more than 40 years, going back to the 1980s.

“I still don’t like doing it. I never have liked needles. I thought by doing it I could get over my discomfort, but I still don’t like doing it," he says. 

But a slight fear of needles has never stopped him from at least having a little fun with the staff over the years.

“They’d hold you by the elbow and escort you out and I would always pretend I was fainting. Or I would yowl when they would first go to rub my skin before inserting the needle. They know me and would just go ‘there’s Murray again’," says Zaba.

According to Canadian Blood Services, half of all Canadians will either need blood or know someone who will need blood at some point in their lives, yet only four per cent of Canadians donate.

They collect blood, plasma and platelets at 36 locations and hold more than 14,000 donor clinics each year.


The human body has about five litres (approximately 10 pints) of blood and the typical blood donation is approximately 525 millilitres, or one pint. It is also referred to as one unit of blood.

One donation of whole blood can save up to three lives.

The American Red Cross notes that the average red blood cell transfusion requires approximately three units of blood, while a car crash victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

Shelf life of blood donations is also important as red blood cells need to be used within 42 days or less and the platelets from a donation must be used within only five days.

To donate blood, visit and click on the “Book Now” button to get started.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been some added requirements for those donating blood at this time with Canadian Blood Services.

Their website states: “If you have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days, you will not be eligible to donate even if you are not required to self-isolate. At this time, a donor’s vaccination status is not a requirement for entry to a collection event, however a donor may be required to show proof of vaccination at certain events where the property owner requires it.”

About the Author: Kevin Lamb

Kevin Lamb picked up a camera in 2000 and by 2005 was freelancing for the Barrie Examiner newspaper until its closure in 2017. He is an award-winning photojournalist, with his work having been seen in many news outlets across Canada and internationally
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