A young dance student and her father made a point of coming out to a Toronto blood clinic on Thursday because they know all too well the urgent need for donors, especially during the quiet days at the end of summer vacation.

Nine years ago, when she was just 22 months old, Isabella Leone was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"At the time her hemoglobin was just 20 when the normal level is 120,” says her dad, Scott Leone. “So we were rushed to Sick Kids (hospital) right away where at that point she was given five transfusions."

Scott Leone says it was fortunate that his daughter didn’t need any more transfusions during her three years of treatment.

While he had always been a blood donor, Isabella Leone’s health scare really drove home the importance of blood products for cancer patients, especially platelets.

On Thursday, Scott Leone made his 114th platelet donation.

Canadian Blood Services says a single donation can make a lifesaving difference to a patient in need. In Toronto alone, 8,000 donors are needed to meet the demands of patients like Isabella Leone.

"They may need red blood cells, they may need platelet transfusions when they’re going through chemotherapy or surgery or even dealing with complications from treatment that they may be receiving,” Kalie Patton, Manager of Community and Fund Development for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, said.

That's why Canadian Blood Services has just teamed up with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to boost blood donations.

And the Leone family is doing their part to help support the initiative.

Scott Leone likes to remind people about the slogan for Canadian Blood Services — “It’s in you to give”.

“You have it. It’s free and the only thing you have to give up is some time. And you could save a life.”

The Leone family will be back at the clinic on Saturday, greeting blood donors at the Yonge and Bloor location of Canadian Blood Services and saying thank you for the gift of life.