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‘Every minute of every day that someone in Canada receives a blood transfusion’

The hand of a blood donor squeezing a medical rubber ball
The hand of a blood donor squeezing a medical rubber ball

Canadian Blood Services hoping to collect at least 96 units of blood at upcoming Liverpool clinic

LIVERPOOL - When Dave White donates blood at Liverpool Regional High School Oct. 10, it will be his 21st time.
White said the first blood donor clinic he remembers attending was in October 1999, when he was a student at the school.
“I remember helping to set up for it, and that was what kind of sparked my interest,” he said.
Peter MacDonald, director of donor relations for Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada is hoping a lot of people have their interests sparked for the clinic happening Oct. 10 from 1-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at Liverpool Regional High School, 104 College St.
When White headed to university, he began to donate regularly. At one point following 9/11, when White was going to Dalhousie University, a group of students from the History Society went together to donate. Since then, he’s been going whenever he can.
“There’s no one in this world that hates needles more than I do, so I really struggle with that,” he said.
Despite being terrified of needles, White donates because he says it’s a small thing people can do to give back.
“I believe very passionately in this, and I think anybody that can donate blood should,” White said.


The process
“When someone comes to give blood, hopefully they’ll be taking an hour out of their time,” said MacDonald. “Our goal is to have you in and out within an hour.”
The first thing a donor does upon arrival is a questionnaire. A regular donor who already has an appointment can complete the questionnaire beforehand and bring it in.
“The questionnaire is a series of personal questions,” said MacDonald. “It’s all confidential, and it’s to ensure you are able to donate blood on that day, and it’s for the safety of the patient and the donor.”
The next step is screening, at which time a nurse checks a donor’s vital signs to make sure the person is healthy enough to donate blood. Any concerns from the questionnaire are also reviewed during the screening step.
“From screening, it’s on to beds, where you donate,” said MacDonald. “Depending on the individual, the donation time can range from five to 15 minutes.”
A donor will continue to rest for about five minutes directly following the donation. After that, she or he will head to the refreshment area to relax and have juice and cookies.  
MacDonald said the blood donor experience should be positive. The goal for Canadian Blood Services is for people not to just donate once, but to keep coming back.
“The donor experience is really important to Canadian Blood Services,” MacDonald said. “People should feel appreciated; they should feel thanked for their gift; they should be informed of the process.”


Numbers
The target for the blood donation clinic Oct. 10 is 96-units. That means getting 96 successful donations, explained MacDonald.  
“From each donation, we’ll draw three components that have the potential to help possible patients – plasma, red cells and platelets,” he said.
MacDonald said there’s a strong donor base on the South Shore. He said one thing that has to be done on the South Shore, though, is to increase the number of younger donors. The minimum age for donating blood is 17 years old.
“It’s a great way to make a difference in your community. It’s every minute of every day that someone in Canada receives a blood transfusion,” said MacDonald.  
Blood is used for many things, including cancer treatments; transplant surgeries and chronic disorders, such as hemophilia.
MacDonald said one in two Canadians is eligible to donate blood. Males can donate every 56 days, and females can give blood every 84 days.
Clinics
Anyone interested in donating can register online, call Canadian Blood Services or go to a clinic.
In addition to the one happening in Liverpool, there is a clinic scheduled to take place in Chester at the legion from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
There are three clinics scheduled to happen in Bridgewater. On Oct. 11 and 12, they’re scheduled from 1-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m., and the Oct. 13 clinic is scheduled for 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Go online: To learn about donating or to get more information about Canadian Blood Services, visit https://blood.ca/en.

Did you know?
Everyone’s body contains about five litres of blood
There are about 450 millilitres in one unit collected
About 100,000 new donors are needed every year to meet the demand
It can take up to 50 unites of blood to save a single car crash victim
It can take eight units a week to help someone who has leukemia

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