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10-year-old cancer survivor to drop ceremonial puck at Barrie Colts game for 'Save Lives Week'

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The Barrie Colts geared up to hit the ice, but on Thursday night, it's about more than just the game, the team is participating in Save Lives Week, collaborating with Canadian Blood Services to highlight the importance of blood donation, something 10-year-old Lillian Pottage knows all too well.

The Oro-Medonte girl is a cancer survivor after having been diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia when she was just two.

Her mother, Hope Pottage, said they owe her life to Canadians who donated blood.

"It was critical," Pottage said. "Lillian's first time battling leukemia, she had 13 blood transfusions to help her, and those were necessary to help her body get the strength it needed to continue to receive the chemo to fight the cancer."

After a second battle with cancer, and several more blood transfusions, Lillian is doing well, and as part of 'Save Lives Week,' she has been chosen to drop the puck at the ceremonial opening face-off at tonight's Colts game, an event organized in collaboration with Canadian Blood Services.

The 10-year-old admitted she hasn't been practicing for the big moment.

"No. It's just dropping a puck," she said.

The need for blood donors never declines but always seems to increase as many people are busy or away at this time of year.

"Here in Barrie alone, we have over 1,000 empty spots between now and January 6 that need to be filled. We don't have enough donors to fulfill the needs from the hospitals in Ontario, and specifically here at the RVH location," said Cheryl Russell, with Canadian Blood Services.

The Barrie Colts wanted to help the campaign by bringing Canadian Blood Services to the game to raise awareness.

"A bag of blood is just like a bag of milk. It has a shelf life of 42 days, so if we don't continually donate as regular donors, we can't support the demand that comes from the hospitals," Russell explained.

Lillian's mom hopes more people make the choice to roll up their sleeves to help save a life.

"It costs you nothing but your time, and in this day and age, everyone is suffering from donor fatigue, and inflation is really impacting donations to different charities. Blood donation costs you nothing but 20 to 30 minutes," Pottage said.

Lillian is nearly one year in full remission, with her mother saying they plan to keep moving forward and live a positive life.

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