Spring blood donor clinic slated here

FORT FRANCES—Canadian Blood Services is on the lookout for people to give the “gift of life” at its spring donor clinic coming up April 25-26 at Fort Frances High School.
CBS spokesperson Harvey Heather said Monday morning that interested donors can make an appointment prior to the two-day clinic by calling 1-888-2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or by visiting www.blood.ca
“They can make an appointment, or if the have any questions about whether they’re eligible or not—if they have a cold or on any type of medication and they’re not sure about whether they’re able to donate—they can get all those answers by calling that number,” he noted.
The clinic will run from 4:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25 and again from noon-3 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26.
A two-day goal of 360 donors has been set for the spring clinic—150 on the Wednesday and 210 on the Thursday.
Last year, 746 donors came out to the pair of two-day CBS clinics held in Fort Frances, donating a total of 652 units of blood.
Since each unit can be used to assist as many as three people, the donors of Fort Frances and area potentially helped save or improve the lives of as many as 1,956 patients.
Heather clarified the number of donors does not always equal the number of units. On average, just under 15 percent of people who come out for the clinics are advised not to donate (either for their own safety or the safety of others).
The 2006 spring and fall blood donor clinics also saw a total of 102 first-time donors from Fort Frances and area, and Heather noted first-time donors are highly encouraged to come out later this month.
“The reality is, people age, or sometimes with medical considerations and medications that people may be on, unfortunately some people may not be able to donate anymore,” noted Heather. “So we certainly need to replace the donors that aren’t eligible anymore.
“We also need new donors to meet the rising demand for blood and blood products. It’s going up two percent a year at this point in time,” he stressed, noting that because people are living longer these days, more blood is needed for surgical and transplant procedures.
Canadian Blood Services looks after 91 hospitals in Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. About 1,200 units per week are needed to meet the demand, with CBS trying to keep enough on hand to supply each of them for four days, noted Heather.
A 2005 survey of Canadians showed 52 percent of people either personally required, or had a member of their family require, donated blood in the past year while 75 percent at least knew someone who did.
But only four percent of eligible donors in Canada give blood.
The rate is between five and seven percent for residents of Great Britain and New Zealand.