One pint of blood could save the lives of three people.
That is the message Canadian Blood Services hopes to get across to Canadian communities. The non-profit association is making a big push to get 100,000 new blood donors through its 100K Challenge.
To help garner interest, society representatives were at Ponoka Secondary Campus March 23 speaking to Grade 12 students on the need for blood and to see if students would do a quick blood test. That test showed what blood type they are.
Speaking to the campaign was Shaun Richer, territory manager, donor relations for Canadian Blood Services. The association services the majority of Canada (Quebec has its own service). “When you donate, it’s not just staying here in Alberta.”
“Your one donation can basically save three people,” he added, speaking to the importance of blood donors.
While there are situations where there is an immediate need for blood such as accidents there is also an ongoing need to ensure a stable supply of blood, said Richer.
He pointed out that just over 50 per cent of Canadians have had a need, or know someone who has had a need for donated blood. And when it comes to emergencies, that need can be high. Accident victims could require up to 50 units (pints) of blood while patients in surgery could need up to 100 units. “Without donors we wouldn’t be able to save people.”
Cancer patients also have a need for blood. Cancer and certain treatments can damage blood cells. Typically a patient will use about eight to 12 units, says Richer. Cancer patients may need red blood cells, plasma or platelets to help with their treatment.
The society is working to gain some attention before its Ponoka stop set for March 27 at the Kinsmen Community Centre.
The benefits of being a donor? “You literally are a hero.”
When a person donates their blood they also get a check up on blood pressure and hemoglobin, a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood.
Richer says there are certain age and weight restrictions. For youths and young adults from 17 to 23 a person has to be of a certain weight to ensure donating blood won’t negatively affect them.
Generally the Canadian Blood Services schedules its mobile donations with enough time to recover. Richer says it takes approximately 56 days for men to recover after donating blood and women about 84 days.
Anyone wishing to donate can take in the mobile clinic March 27 or can schedule an appointment or donate at www.blood.ca or through the app GiveBlood.