“It gives me great pleasure to help others,” says Hedy Halpern, the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
A volunteer all of her life, Hedy helped Vietnamese refugees settle in and around Montreal in the 1970s. Over the years, she’s also given her time and efforts to numerous youth groups and community theatre companies.
Her father was a lifelong blood donor. Hedy was so keen to follow his example that she lied about her age and donated blood for the first time eight days short of her 18th birthday.
“The next time I donated, I got them to correct my birthdate, suggesting that someone must have made a mistake,” she says.
Along with continuing to donate — 182 donations of whole blood, plasma and platelets to date — Hedy is a faithful volunteer at recruitment events. A retired nurse, she also trains and mentors new volunteers.
“I’m a talker, so it’s hard for people to ignore me,” she says with a laugh.
Hedy believes that giving back to the community is essential.
“It’s part of life,” she says. “Not to say that my life has always been easy, but I’ve had it a lot better than many others.”