Call for blood donors to book now to help patients

Call for blood donors to book now to help patients

Blood donations between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 5th are essential to collect platelets

Crystal Nguyen is among thousands of Canadians who have needed blood for lifesaving care during the holidays.

That’s why she encourages Canadians to support Canada’s Lifeline and book and honour their appointments to meet patient needs.

Blood donations between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 5th are essential to collect platelets, which are a vital blood component many patients living with cancer or a blood disorder may need for treatment.

But platelets have a short expiry of seven days. Statutory holidays in December impact our collection hours so every blood donation counts during the holiday season. Meanwhile, patient needs don’t take a holiday.

A Vancouver resident, Nguyen was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. She required more than 100 blood transfusions and months of chemotherapy during her treatment at B.C. Children’s Hospital but is now an aspiring nurse and a strong advocate for blood donation.

“My care didn’t stop during the holiday season. Blood donors made a big difference in my recovery. I’m grateful for every donor who helped me and ask every eligible donor to make that wonderful, lifesaving gift this holiday season,” she explains.

Many Canadians use the holidays for travel and festivities, but lifesaving health procedures will continue to take place. The demand for blood never stops.

“Many Canadians have shared Crystal’s experience and appreciate how a blood donation can be the lifeline for a patient injured in a motor vehicle crash, a mother requiring lifesaving care following childbirth, or someone depending on blood products for specialized cancer treatment,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

“Everything we do to help patients in Canada depends on donors. Donors are a vital link in Canada’s Lifeline. In 2020, Canada needs over 100,000 new blood donors to keep up with demand.”

Shipping blood products to hospital partners is an important part of helping patients. With the support of donors, in 2018-2019 Canadian Blood Services issued more than a million blood components to over 700 hospitals across Canada.

Canadian Blood Services uses two methods to obtain platelets.

Pooled platelets are produced by separating platelets from whole blood after donation. This process accounts for approximately 80 per cent of the platelets that are collected.

Platelets can also be separated from whole blood during donation using a process called apheresis. This process yields more platelet volume per donation, but specialized equipment is required that can’t be made available as widely as a typical whole blood donation.

There are many ways to donate.

As a national registered charity, Canadian Blood Services also welcomes financial donations prior to the Dec. 31st, 2019 tax deadline.

Financial contributions are another option for people who want to support Canada’s Lifeline and want to make their blood or platelet donation go further, or for those who are ineligible to donate blood.

Making an appointment to donate has never been easier. Download the GiveBlood app, call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.

-Submitted