Blood donation clinic held in Prince Albert

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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As the tagline states, “Blood. It’s in you to give.”

Prince Albert residents flocked to the Exhibition Grounds to donate blood to the Canadian Blood Services on Wednesday afternoon.

There are a huge number of reasons to donate blood, said Jeff Martel, resource manager for Saskatchewan and Alberta for the Canadian Blood Services.

“Every minute of every day on average somebody needs blood,” Martel said. “It is a hard statistic to understand that there are that many people in need of blood or blood product.

“I think it is also key because it often takes many people to donate to help one person who is in need,” he added.

Someone who has been in a car crash and suffers a trauma could need as many as 50 units of blood and a cancer patient undergoing treatment can use five units per treatment.

“Someone who is undergoing long-term treatment for leukemia can use two units of blood every week,” he said. “We need to understand the need for the volume of blood that is important to patients across the country.”

Those donating blood at the clinic agreed that giving blood is extremely important.

“I donate because I think of kids especially who need blood for medical conditions,” Janis Johnson said. “I would hate to think mine would not be able to get it if they were to need it.”

Another blood donor, Elaine Neurauter also said there are numerous reasons but a big one is it helps others.

“If I were ever to need blood, I would hope someone would give so I can use it,” Neurauter said.

Canadian Blood Services is looking for all blood types, whether they are universal donors or not.

“We definitely message to people who know they are O-negative that they should really consider donating blood,” Martel said. “O-negative red blood cells are the first resort of a physician in a hospital for somebody whose blood type is not known.

“It is used very often, but we definitely encourage all people, regardless of their blood type, to support the blood system,” he added.

Although many people are afraid of needles or giving blood, Martel said it is not as scary as they may think.

“One of the things I did when I first started at Canadian Blood Services is I worked in high schools -- I did high school presentations and talked to them,” Martel said. “High school students are by and large first-time blood donors.”

He said often they were nervous to donate blood for the first time but after donating decided it was easier than they thought at first.

“I would ask, ‘What was this process like compared to what you thought it would be like?’” Martel said. “Almost every last one of those students said, ‘It was much easier and not something to worry about,’ which they may have thought it was going into it.

“Those first-time donors who are sometimes nervous about donating realize that going through the process, it was a much easier one than they thought it was going to be,” he added.

He would like those who have never donated blood before to consider donating.

“We are constantly looking for new donors and that is because the need for blood is constant,” Martel said. “I think everybody should consider donating blood. The more people we have to donate, the stronger our donation base will be and the easier it will be for us to meet the blood needs across the country.

“We are continuing to manage the blood supply effectively but could we always use more donors willing to give blood? Absolutely.”

Those with questions can visit blood.ca or call 1-888-2DONATE, where they can find answers or book an appointment.

He also asked that people who are unsure of whether or not they can donate blood to call to find out.

“They can ask for a screening nurse and if they have a reason to believe they shouldn’t donate they can ask the questions,” Martel said. “There may be a medication they are on or some place they have travelled to that may have them be a deferral for a certain amount of time.

“What we would ask them to do, instead of saying (they can’t), the truth is they haven’t asked the questions specifically and we can give them a specific answer.”

Blood clinics are held in Prince Albert on a 56-day rotation, Martel said, which is about two months.

“People are allowed to give blood every 56 days (so) we try to schedule it so people who are avid 56 day donors, especially at rural clinics, can keep coming back to that same clinic every two months.”

Organizations: Canadian Blood Services

Geographic location: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Alberta

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