Rainy River District residents are encouraged to book an appointment for the Canadian Blood Services’ first summer blood donor clinic in Fort Frances.
The overall goal of the CBS is to get 380 blood donors over the course of the two-day clinic, and so far it needs another 270 to book appointments to help reach that.
The clinic is being held at Fort Frances High School on Monday, Aug. 13 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and again on Tuesday, Aug. 14 from noon-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.
Make an appointment to donate blood by booking online at www.blood.ca or by calling 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
“We’re hoping Fort Frances and area residents will be able to attend,” CBS community co-ordinator Harvey Heather said last week.
“We know that with it being summertime, many of our regular donors may not be here to donate,” he conceded.
“But we certainly hope the ones that are will take a bit of time from their summer activities for just an hour to give blood and help us to make sure that blood is there for patients in need,” he added.
Heather noted they especially hope students also will donate—despite the fact the clinic is not being held during the school year.
“We really count on students helping us out,” he stressed, noting they’ve always received great support from Fort High, with about 40 students typically coming out.
CBS previously held spring and fall blood donor clinics here each year, but moved to having only the summer clinic in 2012 because the blood they collect in Fort Frances is most needed in the summer when many business, school, and university clinics in other areas are not as available.
“We’ve looked at trying to make sure that blood is there not just as much as we can get it at any time, but the right amount of units of blood at the right time,” Heather explained.
“During the summer, it can be a challenge as many people are away but the need for blood is constant,” he said.
“In fact, with people travelling, there may be the chance of car accidents, which necessitates the higher need for blood.”
Many donors are required to help one patient.
“For example, 50 blood donors may be needed to help one serious car accident patient,” noted Heather.
“Some leukemia patients may need up to eight units of blood each week, meaning eight blood donors each week, for their treatment.
“Unfortunately, that need doesn’t stop through the summer . . . that’s why we’re here in Fort Frances this summer to ensure that blood is available for patients in need,” he reiterated.
Donors must be at least 17 years of age, in general good health, and feeling well on the day of donation.
But Heather said some people don’t realize they are eligible to donate.
“There are many people who can donate if they have certain medical conditions or medication they are taking,” he remarked.
“Our nurses are very specifically trained to determine that,” he said. “They go through a screening process [to] determine that they’ll be okay to donate for themselves and the patient.”
Meanwhile, local businesses and organizations also are being encouraged to get involved in donating blood through a CBS program called “Partners for Life,” which sees groups commit to saving lives by donating blood as a team.
“If one donor can save a life, imagine what your organization can do,” Heather reasoned, noting any business or organization can become a partner by making three simple commitments:
- appointing a “Partners for Life” program champion within the organization, who will work with CBS to promote the program and encourage members of the team to donate;
- setting a donation pledge (the organization will work with CBS to set the team’s life-saving goal for the year and for corporate partners); and
- allowing employees to donate during work hours (where and when possible).
“If we can get a few groups each to contribute five, 10, or 15 blood donors, then it certainly helps,” Heather stressed.
“It allows us to look at all of our partners across the country and say this is how many units of blood we are assured of getting,” he explained, adding they want to make sure the pledge is realistic.
“And right now, 20 percent of our blood supply comes from ‘Partners for Life,’” he added.
CBS eventually hopes it will be able to fulfil all of its annual needs for blood through pledges.
Heather hopes some of the businesses and organizations in Rainy River District will get involved in the program.
And he thanked all those who already support the CBS.
“We have people travelling from quite a distance around Fort Frances and we want to thank all those who do support us,” he remarked.
“And we ask that they continue to support patients in need,” Heather added.
“We do supply hospitals in this area with blood, and we want to make sure that anybody who needs it will receive it.”