Every year on June 14, countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day, as part of Blood Donor Week.
The World Health Organization-sanctioned event – and the nationally recognized week – is meant to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.
This year, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is focused on a critical need for blood donations and is urging Canadians to make an appointment right away to donate before July 1.
“Patients across the country need more donors to step forward for life-giving blood donations,” said Mark Donnison, vice president, CBS donor relations. “We recently called on Canadians to fill more than 150,000 donation appointments by Canada’s 150th birthday to ensure that there is enough blood to meet patient needs throughout the summer.”
But currently, he said, “we’re not on track to meet that target, so we are pleading with Canadians to book an appointment to donate and replenish supplies before July 1.”
One-in-two Canadians will need blood at some point in their life, CBS notes.
Last year alone, CBS estimates, helped more than 650,000 patients across the country through the products and services it provides.
These people include people like Michael Leyva, who was born premature and needed three blood transfusions at two weeks of age to fight a life-threatening infection.
Michael celebrated his fourth birthday on Jan. 1, 2017, and is alive and healthy thanks to the generosity of blood donors.
During National Blood Donor Week, and over the summer long weekends, Canadian Blood Services is also offering a limited-edition Canada 150 collector pin to everyone who visits one of its clinics.
Legislated by the Government of Canada in 2008, National Blood Donor Week takes place every year from June 11 to 17. The week is meant to recognize and celebrates donors for giving life.
In addition to making donations to help hospital patients, people are encouraged to educate others on the demand for more donors by sharing their own blood donation story on social media using the hashtags #givelife and #NBDW2017.
Those looking to give blood in Vancouver this week – or any time of the year, can do so at one of three blood donor clinic locations:
Personal appointments and eligibility can be confirmed by visiting blood.ca