Blood donors needed as donor base drops by 31,000

Derek Hay is about to achieve an ambitious goal.

The 63-year-old will donate blood for the 200th time on July 1.

“I was either going to turn 200 on Canada Day or on my birthday. Ever since I hit 100, I’ve tried to motivate others to go. I will celebrate by posting it on Facebook to try to convince other people to donate blood from time to time.

Hay has been donating since his senior year of high school. Although he doesn’t know anyone who has needed a blood transfusion, he takes pride in helping others.

“It’s a warm fuzzy feeling to know that you might be saving a life. Someday there might come a time when I need blood, or my daughter, so I’ll give now and I hope someone will give if we ever need it.

There were also other advantages.

“When I was in high school, they brought in a donor clinic, so my friends and I went there. When I was in college they paid me to donate and I used the money to buy beer. My father also donated blood at the time. We made it a little competition and it went from there. It always seemed like a good thing to do and each donation can save up to three lives, so that’s great. They also have donuts for donors from time to time.

Hay donates approximately every eight weeks and her O-negative blood has been used for transfusions for babies and other patients in need.

This milestone comes at an important time when Canadian Blood Services is in desperate need of donors.

“Right now in Canada, the regular donor base is down 31,000 donors, making it the lowest in a decade,” said Brett Lawrence, director of community development for Canadian Blood Services at Winnipeg. “We need 100,000 new donors each year. It’s hard to get people to donate blood in the summer because people are on vacation and it’s easy to forget the importance of donating blood, but donating in the summer is more important than ever. .

The organization has 75 openings for the July long weekend and more than 16,000 slots available for the month.

“About one in two people in Canada is eligible to donate blood, but only one in 81 does. There are very few people who maintain the blood supply of an entire country,” Lawrence said.

The need for blood comes after the pandemic when fewer people were donating for safety reasons and people travel during the summer.

“If someone is involved in a car accident, they may need up to 50 units of blood. A patient with leukemia can use up to eight units of blood for one week of treatment. There are a variety of scenarios blood is used for and we need to remind people that the need is always there. »

Kevin Wiersema started donating blood five years ago and tries to go as often as he can.

“When I started, I didn’t have time to give my time to charity, but I knew the easiest way to give back to the community would be to donate blood,” he said. declared. “I always try to let people know how quick and easy it is to book an appointment and donate. Five minutes after you walk through the door, you donate blood.

The act of giving was put into perspective for him when a friend’s family member needed blood.

“Once I saw this, I realized not only was it important to donate to give back to the community, but it had a direct impact on the people I know. Every time I donate, I post about it on social media and try to get others to go.

Canadian Blood Services encourages others to make an appointment to donate to for their Winnipeg location at 777 William Ave.

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