As the holiday season shifts into full swing, Canadian Blood Services is reminding donors and potential donors across the country of the importance of booking an appointment to give blood right away. The winter months come with the added challenges inclement weather creates. As donors in many areas contend with poor weather, it’s even more important for other current and new donors to make and keep their appointments. As a result of poor weather across the country, Canadian Blood Services has had to cancel a number of clinics and has also seen a decline in the number of donors able to attend clinics.
Attendance has been down in British Columbia all the way across the country to Newfoundland. The impact so far has been a drop of over 1,100 donations in the last few days alone, with more bad weather to come. Added to this, there are 26,000 appointments still available to fill in December across Canada.
“We encourage donors to book and keep their appointments if they can safely get to a clinic. Patients are depending on donors to fill open appointments now and throughout the rest of December,” says Mark Donnison, vice president of donor relations.
A regular donor, Bruce Lewis-Watts, agrees that this time of year is important to donate. “There is always a need throughout the year, but it seems that this time of year we are thinking about peace, family, friends, parties and shopping, and people forget about this gift. And it is truly a gift of life to the one receiving this gift.”
Bruce has donated over 650 times, and isn’t stopping anytime soon! “I started doing something ordinary and it became part of my life. Way before paying it forward became a slogan. About 44 years ago I was asked by a classmate if I wanted to skip math/English to give blood. Who knew that for giving blood that first time, along with the juice and cookies, it would become part of my lifestyle? Sometimes skipping class is a good thing.”
Bruce adds that throughout the years and the various programs, the need for blood products has never changed.
“Be it for accident victims, surgery or cancer treatments, I that I’m more aware of the need now. For many years I made the trip to the Manulife Building, and now I go to the Canadian Blood Services main location. Why do I continue to give? Simple. Because I can! I have my good health, and I hope that if I ever need these products. Someone else will have rolled up their sleeve to help someone in need. All this by flying under the radar of 96% of the population.”
Canadian Blood Services says that there is an even greater need for new donors this season because of new iron eligibility guidelines introduced recently to promote the health and wellness of blood donors. As a result of the changes, some donors won’t be able to donate as frequently and more donors are needed to fill the gap.
Canadian Blood Services is counting on eligible Canadians to start a new tradition this holiday season and book a first appointment to donate blood by downloading the GiveBlood app or visiting www.blood.ca