Blood donors needed to help patients this holiday season


Monday, December 17, 2018

DEC. 17, 2018 (OTTAWA) – Canadian Blood Services has called for more than 30,000 blood donors across the country to book and keep their appointments from Dec. 17 to Jan. 6, 2019 to ensure blood and blood products are available to help patients this holiday season.

Canadian Blood Services is predicting the risk of a low supply of platelets – a vital blood component with a seven-day shelf life. This is a result of the timing of Christmas and New Year’s which will result in fewer collection opportunities.

Platelets help make blood clot and are used in the treatment of many serious conditions. One of the most common uses for platelets is to treat cancer patients.

“Statutory holidays in December will impact our platelet supply, but blood donors can help ensure they are available by booking and keeping their appointments by Jan. 6,” says Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer.

Canadian Blood Services uses two methods to obtain platelets. Pooled platelets are produced by separating platelets from whole blood after donation. Platelets can also be separated from whole blood during donation using a process called apheresis. 

“The holiday period is typically a challenging time to collect blood, with many regular donors away or busy with seasonal commitments. But the need for blood does not take a holiday, which is why donations at this time of year are so vitally important for patients,” says Prinzen, “We strongly encourage eligible donors to give blood. Your support will ensure we continue to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian.”

Patients come from all walks of life and every part of Canada. In September 2016, 18-month-old Aubrey Hirsch from Vancouver, B.C. was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She received extensive chemotherapy treatment followed by a stem cell transplant in February 2017. 

“During treatment, Aubrey received more than 50 units of blood products that helped save her life,” says her father Allan Hirsch. “She’s still recovering, but thanks to people who donated out of the goodness of their heart, Aubrey is now a thriving three-year-old girl with an electric personality who is living life to the fullest. The support of donors has truly made a difference in our lives.”

Blood donations over the holiday season are also needed for chemotherapy treatments, as well as trauma victims, cardiac surgeries, and organ transplants – procedures that all routinely take place between Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

To book a blood donation appointment today, locate a donor centre, check your eligibility to donate blood and more, download the GiveBlood app available for iOS on the App Store or for Android on Google Play or visit blood.ca.

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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.

For more information

TEL. 1-877-709-7773

EMAIL: media@blood.ca

Aubrey required more than 50 blood products during treatment for acute myeloid leukemia. Thanks to donors, today she is a thriving three-year-old who is living life to the fullest.

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