Attendance lags at blood and plasma donor centres; over 150,000 open appointments need to be filled this summer
JUNE 12, 2023 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is calling on people across the country to prioritize blood and plasma donation and help fill 150,000 open appointments as the country’s blood inventory faces challenges.
Over the course of the pandemic donor behaviour changed and fewer people are donating regularly. This combined with other major recent events across the country are impacting appointment bookings and donor attendance.
“Typically we expect to see challenges filling appointments in the summer, when people are distracted by nice weather and vacation plans. This year the lag has hit sooner than we expected,” says Ron Vezina, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of public affairs. “We know there are major events impacting people in various communities across the country, but we can’t pause the need for blood. We still need people to make blood and plasma donation a priority now and going into the summer months.”
One in two people in Canada have either required blood or blood products themselves, or they have a loved one who has needed these life essentials.
“People may take it for granted that blood and blood products will be there if their loved ones need them, however hospitals only have these products when someone makes the time to give,” says Vezina. “We’re marking National Blood Donor Week by thanking everyone who has donated to help patients, but right now there are not enough people donating.”
Fourteen year-old Kade Blakely has depended on blood and plasma donors for many years. Just after his ninth birthday Kade was diagnosed with a condition that affects nearly every organ in his body, and his immune system. He developed a severe bleeding disorder, and has needed many surgeries over the years, with no end in sight. To support his immune system in fighting off infections, Kade receives immunoglobulin, a medication made from plasma. He has had hundreds of injections of this lifesaving medication, and each dose is made from plasma collected from thousands of donors.
Throughout Kade’s journey there has been one constant: the community of blood and plasma donors across the country who keep him going. Kade’s mother, Holly, is grateful for this community – who she describes as their village of support. “We most certainly feel the love and support of our village as we continue on our journey,” says Holly. See Kade’s story.
1 in 2 people are eligible to donate blood and plasma, yet only 1 in 81 does
“A recent survey shows that most people understand the need for blood, but despite our best efforts nearly 50 per cent say they haven't donated because they are waiting to be asked. Consider this your invitation. We are asking you to book an appointment now,” says Vezina. “In Canada communities always come together to support one another in challenging times. We need people to think of blood donation in that same way and to join this community to support patients like Kade. For those who think that someone else has it covered, we’re shining a light on the fact that this is not the case.”
Mayors across the country have stepped up to help encourage their communities to donate. To mark National Blood Donor Week (June 11 – 17), more than 60 landmarks across the country will be lit red to remind people that blood and plasma donors are needed every day.
“Whether you’ve given blood in the past but haven’t donated in a while, or if you have considered donating but haven’t taken the first step, now is the time to turn that intention into action. Make donating part of your summer plans. Lives depend on it. If you aren’t able to donate, you can help by encouraging others to book an appointment so that patients and families can rest assured that the blood and plasma they need is available when and where they need it.”
To join the community of donors who play a vital role in patient care in this country, download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) and book an appointment today.
About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization. Regulated by Health Canada as a biologics manufacturer and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, Canadian Blood Services operates with a national scope, infrastructure and governance that make it unique within Canadian healthcare. In the domain of blood, plasma and stem cells, we provide services for patients on behalf of all provincial and territorial governments except Quebec. The national transplant registry for interprovincial organ sharing and related programs reaches into all provinces and territories, as a biological lifeline for Canadians.