Dozens of Syrian refugees in Calgary rang in the New Year by donating their blood.

Yo Rasso, who arrived in Canada about 18 months ago, said he decided to roll up his sleeves “to say thank you Canada for help(ing) me and my children.”

Blood drive organizer Sam Nammoura, from the Syrian Refugee Support Group, said that giving blood is considered a big honour in Syrian culture.

“If people are really committed they say, ‘I will do this with my blood,’” he said.

“This is (an) opportunity for them to show their appreciation and gratitude to the country.”

Jhoanna Delrosario of Canadian Blood Services 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.”

Syrian newcomers welcoming the new year by donating blood for Canada!

Posted by Saima Jamal on Monday, January 1, 2018

With a report from CTV Calgary