Join Canada’s Lifeline During the Season of Giving

November 26, 2021 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services is urging people to make an appointment to donate blood and join Canada’s Lifeline during the season of giving. Between November 26 and January 4 Canadian Blood Services needs to fill 38,000 appointments across the country. New donors, in particular, are needed to help maintain inventory levels.

Blood donors are needed all year, but especially during busy social seasons. It can be challenging to find time for appointments, but the need for blood never takes a day off. Because of statutory holidays during the month of December, several collection opportunities will be lost which could put some of our blood components - the platelet inventory, for example - at risk. Donated blood lasts only 42 days but platelets that are commonly used to treat cancer patients have a short shelf life of only seven days.

Select donor centres across the country will be open on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, in addition to regularly scheduled operating hours. Appointments are necessary as part of the COVID-19 protocol, and enhanced wellness measures continue to be in place in donor centres.

“Canadian Blood Services has a generous donor base across the country, and we want to thank them for their consistent efforts to continue donating through the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, we very much need new and returning blood donors as we move into a very busy season,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations.

“We have experienced many changes throughout the pandemic, but the desire to save lives has never waned, and we appreciate all the support from donors, team members and volunteers. Our donors have continued to book appointments and make a difference in their communities with blood and plasma donations,” says Mr. Prinzen. “We are also susceptible to extreme weather events, like the recent flooding in British Columbia. We want to thank donors and our team members across the country for helping us maintain the national blood system in the face of these challenges.”

The Marsden family is grateful for Canada’s Lifeline and their community

The importance of community is felt throughout the year, and for a young cancer patient in Nova Scotia, the support of friends and strangers alike has been lifesaving. Hunter Marsden was just eight years old when he was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma. Since his diagnosis in 2017, Hunter has undergone multiple treatments and has required blood, plasma, and platelets. Through it all, his community has supported him in many ways. “The community really came together and has helped us with everything,” says his mom, Tina. “We’ve received cards with gift cards for food and things like that. The community is just unbelievable and constantly there to support us and wondering how Hunter's doing. They’ve done, and continue to do so, so much.” Tina also appreciates the support of people she will never know – blood donors. “I have seen my child have multiple transfusions, so I would like to say thank you so much to every blood donor.” Hunter continues his battle today and is grateful for all the support.

For those who cannot book an appointment to donate blood or plasma, there are other opportunities to support Canada’s Lifeline. People can join the Canadian Blood Services Stem Cell Registry and request a swab kit be mailed to them, by registering their intent to donate organs and tissues, or by making a financial contribution. Financial donations mean that our national recruitment efforts will have a boost in times of great need, that we can invest in new innovative technologies and conduct important research.

On November 29, 2021 Canadian Blood Services will honour dedicated donors, staff and volunteers who have made significant contributions to the national blood system. Their stories are inspiring reminders of why it is so important to celebrate the season of giving by joining Canada's Lifeline. The Honouring Canada's Lifeline event will be held virtually and will celebrate award recipients from across the country.

Although donating blood or plasma might not be a traditional gift, it is the perfect way to connect with community and save lives. By scheduling an hour of time to donate during the season of giving, you can make saving a life your greatest gift.

Quick Facts

  • Canadian Blood Services needs new and returning donors to fill 38,000 open appointments between November 26 and January 4.
  • Canadian Blood Services uses two methods to obtain platelets. Pooled platelets are produced by separating platelets from whole blood after donation. This process accounts for approximately 80 per cent of the platelets we collect. Platelets can also be separated from whole blood during donation using a process called apheresis. This process yields more platelet volume per donation, but specialized equipment is required that can’t be made available as widely as a typical whole blood donation.
  • Additional COVID-19 safety measures in place at all donor events include: 
    • Wellness checkpoints
    • Mandatory masks 
    • Increased and thorough environmental cleaning; and  
    • Active hand hygiene and enforced physical distancing.  
  • There are many ways to donate to support Canada’s Lifeline. In addition to donating blood, platelets or plasma, you can join the national stem cell registry, register to become an organ and tissue donor, or make a one-time or recurring financial donation. As a national registered charity, Canadian Blood Services welcomes financial donations prior to the Dec. 31, 2021 tax deadline.

To book an appointment to help patients like Hunter, download the GiveBlood app and join Canada’s Lifeline. Please call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at