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Blood drive set to go this month


A blood donor’s efforts are rarely in “vein.”

But with donations exceeding 400 units here in Rainy River District, local residents are looking pretty good.

Canadian Blood Services recently reported that blood donations have hit a five-year low and donor event co-ordinator Mike Choi said it’s no coincidence the blood drive is heading this way Aug. 18-19.

“We are always sure to plan our Fort Frances clinics during times we know we will need support from a strong community,” he remarked.

“During the summer, we always see a dipping collection because lifestyles change, things come up, and people put blood donation on the back burner,” Choi noted.

“But that being said, we can always count on a strong turnout in Fort Frances.”

Although summertime challenges aren’t new, Choi confirmed those challenges have come early this year—citing a 35 percent drop since this time in 2013.

CBS needs to fill 30,000 appointments every week to meet the demand for blood nation-wide, but close to 50,000 donors have missed their appointments so far this year.

Choi said CBS still is looking to fill appointment slots for its two-day clinic here, which will run Aug. 18 from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and again Aug. 19 from noon-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at Fort Frances High School.

“We are looking to collect 200 units of blood and as of this week, we currently have 200 appointments left to fill,” he noted.

“Because we are only in Fort Frances twice a year, I think it is really important that folks take the opportunity to donate,” he stressed.

Choi admitted it was a shame CBS only is able to come here semi-annually, but was quick to justify the scheduling.

“We can only store the units we have on-site for a limited amount of time, so we always have to send the units back to our lab in Winnipeg for testing storage,” he explained.

“It is difficult to come out to communities in Northwestern Ontario more than we currently do because it requires a constant shuttle going back and forth transporting units of blood.

“But that being said, our clinic in Fort Frances is really one of our strongest,” noted Choi.

“We are just hoping that people will continue to support our blood donor clinics.”

Long-time local donor Bill Gushulak is prepared to give the “gift of life” for the 43rd time at the upcoming blood drive.

“Fortunately, I have been able to contribute for quite some time and I plan on donating for as long as I can,” he remarked.

“[Blood] is a renewable resource that we are blessed with and if [people] just took a moment to consider the value of it, [they’d] realize it’s the most painless gift you can give to someone,” Gushulak added.

“It’s in us to give.”

To make an appointment for the clinic, call 1-888-2 DONATE or visit

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