More than 800 December donation appointments unfilled: Canadian Blood Services Sask.

Full of vacations, get-togethers and lots of travel time, the holidays are a busy season for many.

Unfortunately for Canadian Blood Services (CBS), though, demand for life-saving blood treatments isn’t going anywhere for Christmas.

There are still more than 300 appointments in Regina and more than 500 appointments in Saskatoon that need to be filled by the end of the month to meet projected December demand, according to CBS.

“This holiday season we’re facing a number of things. We’re seeing increased numbers in flu and of course the ongoing effects of COVID, as well as inclement weather, cold weather and poor driving conditions can have an impact,” said CBS donor relations territory manager Aaron Barlow.

“And the holidays always present a bit of a challenge for us in that people are just out enjoying their time with friends and family.”

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Read more: ‘Supplies are tight’ — Canadian Blood Services concerned about current inventory

Barlow added that some who were regular donors before the pandemic have yet to get back to their routine, creating a further challenge.

He said that since the beginning of the pandemic, CBS has lost more than 31,000 regular donors nationwide.

Some help was arriving, though, Friday morning.

Bryan Matheson and Candy Bye chat ahead of their donation appointments. Dave Parsons / Global News

Carlyle resident and Lions Club member Candy Bye rallied 11 of her fellow members to make the two-hour trek to donate.

“I thought it was a good thing to bring to our cause. Our motto is ‘We serve.’ So this is a way that we can serve,” she said.

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Lumsden’s Bryan Matheson shared that spirit. Friday marked his 94th donation.

“It’s Christmastime, but you can’t let that get in the way of making your regular donations,” said Matheson.

“It’s easy. it takes a few minutes of your time and it’s the right thing to do, for sure.”

Read more: Flu season — Why are so many Canadian children falling sick?

Canadian Blood Services’ new donation centre on south Albert Street. Dave Parsons / Global News

More enticement to rally would-be Regina donors: Canadian Blood Services has just opened a shiny new office on south Albert.

“We just opened our new donor centre at 4180 Albert St. on Monday. We welcomed guests that day. There was a lot of positive feedback and excitement,” said Barlow.

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“Our new donor centre, it’s bright, it’s open, it’s very welcoming. It’s designed with the donor experience in mind to make sure everybody’s having a positive experience.”

Canadian Blood Services encourages anyone wishing to donate to make an appointment at blood.ca, by downloading the GiveBlood app, or by calling 1-800-236-6283.

Men can donate whole blood every 56 days, while women can donate whole blood every 84 days.

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