A father’s advocacy helps bring plasma-derived treatment to more people
As the parents of two young boys with a severe form of hemophilia, a blood clotting disorder, Donovan and Jenn McNeely found it painful to see them suffer through treatments. Their youngest, Tristan, was so fearful of needles that he needed to be taken to the hospital and sedated for every shot. “We could tell it was consuming his life,” Donovan recalls. “Every moment, he was worrying about his next treatment. He had a lot of trauma.” So when Donovan learned of a promising new plasma-derived drug called Hemlibra®, with the potential to dramatically improve his boys’ quality of life, he campaigned tirelessly to get it approved for patients across the country. Donovan’s efforts helped pave the way for its inclusion in the national formulary of plasma protein and related products operated by Canadian Blood Services. Read more about the McNeely family’s story on blood.ca.
25 years after the Krever commission, our commitment to patients remains
Through the 1970s, 80s and 90s tens of thousands of Canadians were infected and even died from tainted blood transfusions. Known commonly as the tainted blood crisis, this is a truly dark piece of Canada’s health history but one we should never forget. Today marks the 25th anniversary since Justice Horace Krever published his findings into which system failures allowed this crisis to occur. Krever’s work has been our guiding light since Canadian Blood Services was established and, in an open letter to people across Canada, CEO Dr. Graham Sher expresses our ongoing commitment to patients and safety above all else. Read his letter here.
12 Days of Wellness in December
The last month of the calendar year can bring hustle and bustle, as some employees gear up to celebrate different holidays and prepare to start a new year. December can also lead to a variety of emotions and feelings. For some, this time of year can bring on stress, joy, worry, sadness, excitement and hope (sometimes all at once). If you would like some extra support (and a bit of fun), register for our 12 Days of Wellness in December. From Dec. 5–20, you’ll receive an email each day from our wellness team, with a variety of resources, activities and tips to embrace and enjoy the season while keeping your health and well-being a priority.
Question of the day
Now that we’ve moved to sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors, what does that mean for someone who is in exclusive relationships with multiple people (e.g. they practice polyamory/polyfidelity)? Can they donate?
Some people may be in sexual relationships with multiple people. With the implementation of sexual behaviour-based screening, people in polyamorous or polyfidelitous relationships, who have engaged in anal sex with one or more of their partners in the last three months, will be required to wait three months from when they last had anal sex to donate.
We recognize that people in polyamorous/polyfidelitous relationships often engage in sexual health practices that effectively decrease any chances of acquiring new infections within the window period of our testing. However, our screening questions are designed to be broad. We do not comprehensively assess the individual's actual risk of having a transmissible disease.
Our frontline employees are committed to creating welcoming, inclusive spaces in our donor centres. They, and many of our volunteers, received comprehensive, sex positive training prior to the implementation of sexual behaviour-based screening. This training empowers those in donor-facing roles to feel better equipped for the conversations they may have with donors. This training is available for all employees, regardless of role, via Connect.