We’ll admit that Steph Barlow has creative ideas for group outings at Iversoft. While we’re normally all about dispelling the myth that working at a digital agency is a draining experience, we do have one exception: when it comes to donating blood, Steph all but encourages it.

Steph, who was inspired to start donating blood when she saw the Canadian Blood Services’ bus on her university’s campus in Ottawa, is the company’s number one advocate for group activities. As a past donor herself, she loved the idea of getting a group of staff members on board to fill the ‘blood bus.’

When she started asking around, she was excited to hear that a number of people on staff were interested in donating. Most people who had never gone before wanted to make a blood donation but were nervous to go for the first time or didn’t understand the process. With so many people on board, Steph was thrilled to make group donations a company-wide initiative back in 2017. Canadian Blood Services was just as thrilled when they heard a local digital agency wanted to send them an entire bus of donors, but it’s hard to top Steph’s enthusiasm. Did giving half a litre of blood curb her enthusiasm levels? Absolutely not. There is no means of draining Steph’s energy levels.

Round one was a complete success. Since the original outing, this digital agency has made it a semi-annual initiative to get as many people on the bus as possible to make a trip to one of Ottawa’s donation centres. As the number of trips to Canadian Blood Services has increased, so has the number of donation advocates amongst the team.

Those who have donated blood with Iversoft, especially those who have done it for the first time, have become advocates for new donors each time we do it. Often those who were nervous on their first visit will be the cheerleaders for new staff members on their first visit.

As proud as we are of our first-time donors, we also have some heavyweight champions among our ranks. Michael Lautru has been donating blood to Canadian Blood Services since college and holds an untouchable record for blood donations at Iversoft. His donation origin story is certainly unique. When asked how he got started with blood donations, he grinned and admitted he was originally dared by a girlfriend in college. Can’t back down from a dare, right?

Since then, Michael has donated over 60 times to Canadian Blood Services. He talks about how over the years he’s seen plenty of friends and family who have needed transfusions from serious accidents or cancer treatments. What started out as an unusual first date has grown into a dedicated routine. For many at Iversoft, what starts off as a first company outing turns into a valued practice.

Collectively, Iversoft’s employees have donated to Ottawa’s Canadian Blood Services over 80 times. That’s over 40 litres of blood! One donation alone can save up to three lives, making every donation priceless in its potential. But it can take up to fifty donors to help save just one person with injuries from a serious accident, making every donation a precious addition to Canada’s lifeline.

“My grandfather has needed many transfusions,” says Steph. “I wanted to be the one to help him, but I’m not a match. But someone out there was, and it has saved him more than once. I hope that I can be that connection for somebody else who needs it.”

Many of our staff have shared how this initiative has been the lifeline for a friend or family member. We’re just one digital agency in Ottawa, so we’ve challenged local agencies to band together and support Canadian Blood Services. Some projects might feel like you’re giving your blood, sweat, and tears to make it to a deadline, but this time, we really just want your blood.

Find out if you’re eligible to donate by going to Canadian Blood Services website, or reach out on social if your business is ready to take on our challenge!

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