Donations of blood can take a dip during the holiday season, and staff at the Canadian Blood Services are reminding folks not to forget them during these critical weeks.
Locally, the office is aiming to collect 1,000 units of blood for December, said Kaelyn Smith, community development coordinator with the local CBS branch. That’s why through to Jan. 2, the national organization is asking eligible Canadians to take one hour of their schedule to donate, ensuring shelves are replenished.
It’s also important to remember to donate in the weeks following the holidays.
“This is a tough week as people are preoccupied with Christmas and holiday activities, and they are out of their routines,” said Smith. “But the need for blood is constant.”
As of Dec. 24, they had brought in 899 units of blood, said Smith.
She said the weekly target for Dec. 27-31 is 168 units.
“If we achieve this we will surpass our December collections goal. As Canadian Blood Services operates as a national inventory, our potential over-collection could benefit patients in need all over the country,” she said.
Smith added that appointments for Friday and Saturday are still sitting below 50%. “We hope that generous Central Albertans will rally together to save lives as we head into the New Year.”
Donors can drop by Dec. 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. and Dec. 30-31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We’ll be trying to collect as much as possible this week before New Year’s.”
Many treatments and procedures require blood products from several donors. As officials with CBS point out, every minute of every day someone in Canada needs blood.
Much of the blood that is transfused every year is done under emergency or trauma situations. In Canada, hundreds of thousands of people each year receive blood components or blood products following accidents, during surgery or for cancer treatments, burn therapy, hemophilia and other blood-related diseases.
The average amount of blood in one person is five litres or 10.5 pints, and there are about 450 ml of blood in a unit. On average, 4.6 units of blood are required per patient.
Smith said making a donation before or after the holidays helps ensure an adequate supply for those in need. Donors are also encouraged to bring a friend or family member. To help meet the continuing need for blood, donors who have an appointment in the coming weeks are urged to honour it.
To donate, you must be at least 17 years old, be in general good health and feeling well on the day of donation. The minimal interval between blood donations is 56 days.
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. The organization also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.
Looking ahead, the local Sirens for Life campaign kicks off next month when local RCMP and Emergency Services members compete to see which organization makes the most donations.
To book an appointment or for more information, visit www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE. The local office can be reached at 403-309-3378.