Canadian Blood Services is rallying people across the country to shine a light on the need for new donors
MAY 15, 2023 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is shining a light on the need for more than 100,000 new blood and plasma donors to meet ongoing patient needs.
“We know Canadians are generous people, however there are simply not enough folks donating blood and blood products regularly,” says Ron Vezina, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of public affairs. “People tend to think ‘someone else will do it’. The reality is, there is a small group of dedicated donors filling hospital blood banks. We are grateful for their commitment, but when they aren’t able to donate, it leaves a gap. That could mean the difference between life or death for a patient.”
“Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen Canada’s donor participation rate drop from just under 4% of the eligible population to under 2%,” says Vezina. “Today we’re launching our Shine a Light campaign to put a spotlight on the challenges we are facing as a result of a declining donor base. This is a mobilization call to people across Canada to join us in strengthening Canada’s Lifeline.”
“We know from market research that the main reason people don’t donate is because they feel no one has ever asked them to. That’s why we’re shining a light on this situation and calling on those who haven’t donated before to make that appointment – whether it is today, next week, or as soon as you can. You never know when someone in your life may need blood products. Your community needs you to begin donating on a regular basis.”
Amélie Adolphe and her family know first-hand the impact a donor can make. Amélie nearly died after swallowing a lithium button battery in the spring of 2020 when she was 18 months old. The battery caused extensive internal damage and she needed countless blood products to survive. Thankfully, the blood she needed was available.
“The doctors could have done everything right, but without blood donors, Amélie would have died,” says her mom, Leslie Bangamba. “Instead, this happy little girl is back to dancing in the kitchen.” See Amélie’s story.
More than 100,000 new donors are needed every single year
“To keep a stable supply of blood and blood products for patients like Amélie, we need to reverse this downward trend and it needs to start now” says Vezina. “When everyone’s lives were disrupted by the pandemic, their routines changed. We need people to make blood and plasma donation a habit.”
The campaign will run for six weeks with activities coast-to-coast culminating on World Blood Donor Day in lighting up more than 60 landmarks across the country.
“If you’re already a donor, or you aren’t able to donate, you can still make a difference by encouraging others to book an appointment. It takes donors of all kinds to keep Canada’s Lifeline strong. You can also register your intent to donate your organs and tissues, volunteer your time, or make a financial donation. Folks between 17 and 35 can register as a potential stem cell donor. We’re asking Canadians to share this message with their family, their friends and through their social networks.”
To be one of the 100,000 new donors, download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) and book an appointment today.
Donors with all blood types are needed
People with less common blood types depend on each other. The less common a person’s blood type, the more difficult it is to find a donor if that person suddenly needs matched rare blood for a transfusion.
“Not only do we need to collect enough of each blood type, we know that blood from donors of the same or similar racial or ethnic background as the recipient is less likely to cause complications for patients who need regular transfusion therapy,” says Vezina. “Our priority is to ensure the best possible treatment and care is given to patients from all communities. To do that, we need to improve the representation of Black, South Asian and other racialized people within our donor base.”
Donors have a lasting and direct impact
This year, across Canada, Canadian Blood Services must collect 16,000 units of blood and 3,000 units of plasma every week. New and existing plasma and blood donors are needed to fill every open appointment from now through to the end of the summer.
Did you know?
- 1 in 2 people have either required blood and blood products themselves or have a loved one who has needed these life essentials. 1 in 2 people are also eligible to donate blood and plasma, yet only one in 81 does.
- There are over 17.5 million eligible donors in Canada, but less than 2% donate blood or plasma.
- A small group of regular donors currently meets the needs of the entire country, but this is unsustainable.
- With the support of donors, last year Canadian Blood Services issued close to a million blood components to over 700 hospitals across Canada.
- Donating blood and plasma is a simple act that doesn’t take long but can help change a life. Make a powerful human connection while putting your feet up.
To be one of the 100,000 new donors we need, download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to join Canada’s Lifeline 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.