On Wednesday, January 10th, 2024, I did something that I have been waiting almost 28 years to do: I was able to donate blood to the Canadian Blood Services program.
I began giving blood regularly upon leaving school in Sheffield, England in 1985. Since then, I have given 34 times to the British National Blood Transfusion Service. In 1996, when I moved to Canada to work in the Canadian health service, at the time, an outbreak of BSE (mad cow disease) was affecting parts of Britain, and having been raised on a diet of British dairy and meat products all my life, I was unable to give blood here as a precaution that I could be inadvertently carrying Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), of which relatively little was known then.
Meanwhile, the years passed by and the local radio commercials and health news items here spoke continually of the increasing and desperate need for more donors that have steadily fallen off, especially since the pandemic.
And then 2 weeks ago, I noticed that there was going to be a blood donor clinic right here at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and I called Canadian Blood Services on 1 888 2 DONATE to inquire about my ability to donate here at work – and was happily informed that I could now donate as the policy had just changed the month before and the restriction rescinded!
So I gladly gave my details and scheduled my appointment right there and then.
I was able to donate to other Canadians here at Sunnybrook during my lunchtime. There will be another donor clinic here at Sunnybrook on May 17th and I’ve already marked it in my work schedule.