Donors needed to keep blood supply at high levels during the holidays

Canadian Blood Services is asking people to roll up their sleeves during the holiday season to ensure a strong supply of blood products.

Brett Lawrence, community development manager for the Manitoba chapter of Canadian Blood Services, says the agency is looking to fill 25,000 appointments between now and the end of the year. Of those appointments, 500 are in Winnipeg.

“We’re seeing a lot of cancellations go up due to sick calls,” he said. “Also, if you look outside, the weather is not the most ideal. So, some people aren’t coming out to donate blood. So we’re really encouraging people to book appointments and keep them if they can. And if they need to cancel, please reschedule.”

Lawrence said the donors are needed to help ensure a supply of blood products, including platelets. The organization is also specifically looking for O-negative donations, as it can be transfused to any patient.

“A leukemia patient, for example, could use up to eight units (of blood) a week for one week of leukemia treatments,” he said. “Another situation could be a car accident, where up to 50 units could be needed.”

At Winnipeg’s blood donation clinic, several people rolled up their sleeves Wednesday to help refill the blood supply, including some for the first time.

“My girlfriend has been donating blood for many years, and we talked and she asked if I would be interested in donating blood, and I said, ‘absolutely,’” said Slavko Kovak.

“It’s a great thing. We’re helping people and saving lives.”

Kerry Barron donated for the first time in 30 years on Wednesday, after seeing a report on CTV Morning Live Winnipeg.

“I said, ‘Why can’t I do this again?’” he said. “I was a young kid the last time I did it.”

Appointments for blood donation can be booked online.

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