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Donors wanted for blood clinic

It’s not too late for district residents to make an appointment to donate at Canadian Blood Services’ fall donor clinic tomorrow and Thursday at Fort Frances High School.

Interested donors are encouraged make an appointment prior to the two-day clinic by calling 1-888-2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or visiting www.blood.ca

The clinic will run tomorrow (Sept. 12) from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and from noon-3 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“The first day is booked up very well, which is great,” CBS spokesman Harvey Heather noted late yesterday. “The second day we still have about 40 open appointments plus walk-ins.

“I would say altogether about 60-70 people are still going to be needed for the clinic,” he added.

“Just to let people know, on the first day, 40-50 will not commit to their appointment, typically. And on the second day, it’s close to 70,” Heather noted. “So they’ll always be room for walk-ins.

“What looks full may not actually be full, so we appreciate people coming in. Make an appointment if you can; walk in if you can’t,” he said.

Likewise, those who cannot make the appointment they’ve made are asked to either call CBS and cancel in order to free up their spot, or have an eligible donor who hasn’t made an appointment of their own go in their place.

“We’re hoping for a great turnout,” said Heather, adding the CBS experienced a blood shortage this summer and is trying to replenish its supplies.

The shortage was due to several factors, including excessive heat in western Canada causing the cancellation of a couple of donor clinics, people on vacation, farmers being busy with the harvest, and, especially, a whopping 25,000 cancelled or “no show” appointments to give blood.

“We just had a lack of donors come in this summer and, of course, the need during that time is the greatest,” Heather said. “People are travelling, there’s more accidents, more recreational mishaps, that cause the need for blood to go up.

“The other concern with the fall coming up is, with the summer, they actually cut the number of surgeries a little bit with doctors on vacation and that kind of thing.

“But now, they’re ramping back up again, so we want to make sure that as they ramp up, that we’re able to meet the demands for patients and make sure that anyone who needs blood will get it,” Heather added.

“We’re coming up better in our inventory, but it’s still a concern, so this will be a very important clinic to us this week,” he stressed.

CBS has set a goal of 340 donors, and at least 260 units of blood, for the two-day fall clinic here. Each one of those units could help up to three people, so if the quota is met, potentially close to 800 people could be helped.

(The number of donors does not always equal the number of units. On average, just under 15 percent of people who come out for the clinics are advised not to donate—either for their own safety or the safety of others).

Canadian Blood Services looks after 91 hospitals in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. About 1,200 units per week are needed to meet the demand, with CBS trying to keep enough on hand to supply each of them for four days.

As people are living longer these days, more blood is needed for surgical and transplant procedures. The need for blood is rising an average of two percent each year.

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