CALGARY – Syrian refugees in Calgary welcomed the new year with a blood donation drive to show their appreciation and gratitude to the Canadian people.
Arriving in Canada about 18 months ago, Yahya Rasso said he decided to roll up his sleeves “to say thank you Canada for help(ing) me and my children,” CTV News reported.
Escaping death in their home country, thousands of Syrian refugees were welcomed in Canada over the past two years.
In the Syrian culture, giving blood is considered a big honor.
“If people are really committed they say, ‘I will do this with my blood,’” blood drive organizer Sam Nammoura, from the Syrian Refugee Support Group, said.
“This is (an) opportunity for them to show their appreciation and gratitude to the country.”
The Syrian refugees’ initiative was welcomed by Jhoanna Delrosario of Canadian Blood Services.
Delrosario said she suggested New Year’s Day for the blood drive because the New Year’s holiday and January, in general, are a slow time for donations.
“We are very grateful for the Syrian community and the newcomers,” Delrosario added.
“What a way to celebrate the New Year and give back to the community.”