National Volunteer Week Profile: Andrew MacPherson

Topics: National, British Columbia and Yukon, Volunteer
April 10, 2015

This week, the Canadian Red Cross celebrates all volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 12-18, 2015.

Between shifts as a trauma and emergency physician  in Victoria, B.C. hospitals, helping injured skiers at Whistler-Blackcomb, and representing the Canadian Red Cross at medical conferences around the world, Andrew MacPherson has helped firmly establish the Canadian Red Cross as the number one provider of first aid and CPR training in Canada.

“I get a wicked sense of satisfaction from getting things done, having a meaningful impact and making positive change for the things I believe in,” he says. “Red Cross takes advances in science and research and implements change ahead of others. It feels great to be part of the forefront in this. Plus, volunteering with Red Cross allows me to hang out with a really neat group of people!”

MacPherson, 44, has volunteered for 12 years. Currently, he is vice-chair of the North American Scientific Advisory Council, which ensures Red Cross first aid programs are in line with the latest science and accessible to national societies around the world. He is also chair of the National Medical Advisory Council, which under his leadership included AED training in all Red Cross first aid courses. Canadian Red Cross was the first agency to mandate this. Now, research shows AED and CPR, after cardiac arrest, can double a person’s chance of survival. “We will never know how many lives were saved as a result of this decision but the industry now understands the importance of AEDs,” notes Don Marentette, Canadian Red Cross director of First Aid programs, Prevention & Safety. “His dedication to our mission is nothing short of inspiring.”

MacPherson is also someone who rushes home to take his 11-year-old daughter to a talk on orca whales, or build beach forts with his seven-year-old son. “I have two kids and I want to show them that they can do something meaningful in this world. You don’t need to be front page or in the spotlight. Just get things done, feel good about it and inspire people.”

At overseas meetings, he has discussed International Committee of the Red Cross  first aid guidelines with leaders in this specialty from around the world.  He is scheduled to speak in Turkey at a conference on children’s needs in disaster. He is also eager to one day deploy with the ICRC Emergency Response Unit.

MacPherson says people should volunteer with Red Cross “if they really want a sense of accomplishment. After children, it is the most rewarding thing you can do.”

It is because of volunteers like Andrew, that the Canadian Red Cross is able to deliver services to the most vulnerable communities from coast to coast across Canada.

Thank you, Andrew.