Calgary needs up to 600 new blood donors per month to help save patients

Feb 3 2020, 1:22 pm

When we’re busy at work, hitting the gym, and managing our side hustles, it’s easy to assume that we all have superhero capabilities. It’s also easy to forget that we’re all human, and that life can throw curveballs our way.

Nobody ever anticipates having to deal with an illness or recover after an accident. Nor do they see themselves needing blood transfusions along the way.

However, someone needs blood every 60 seconds in Canada — and half of Canadians will either need it themselves or know someone who will in their lifetime.

Over 112,000 new donors are needed nationwide each year to ensure patients have healthy and secure access to vital blood products. And in Calgary alone, up to 600 new donors are needed every month to help save patients’ lives.

Blood saves lives

Calgarian Julie was a blood donor for many years before she had to give it up following a kidney disease diagnosis. But she never expected that her eldest daughter, Brynn, would owe her life to the blood donations of others.

At 25, after what started with a sore throat, Brynn was diagnosed with leukemia. She was admitted to the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and two days later, she began chemotherapy. However, Brynn experienced complications from the treatment which landed her in ICU, where she received her first blood transfusion.

“Without the generosity of Canadians who open their hearts and give what doesn’t cost a penny, my oldest child might have died. I am grateful to those strangers,” Julie told Canadian Blood Services.

Today, Brynn is in remission and back to work.

Blood donor/Shutterstock

Blood and blood products are a critical part of everyday medical care in surgeries, cancer treatment, and emergencies. To give you an idea of how far each blood donation goes, it takes up to eight donors a week to help a leukemia patient like Brynn through treatment.

For further context, it takes up to five donors to help a patient battling cancer get through treatment, up to four donors a month to help treat someone with a blood disorder, and up to 50 donors to save a single crash victim.

Canadian Blood Services delivers over a million units of blood and blood products to over 700 hospitals across Canada annually thanks to the support of donors, community partners, and volunteers.

What you can do

Approximately one in every two Canadians can donate blood. Despite this, fewer than 4% of those who can donate sustain our blood system.

If you’re unable to donate, don’t worry — there are other ways that you can help save lives.

This includes joining the stem cell registryvolunteering with Canadian Blood Services, registering to become an organ and tissue donor, or making a financial donation to Canadian Blood Services.

The Calgary blood donation centre is located at 200 Barclay Parade SW Unit #10 in the Eau Claire Market. For more information and to discover whether you are eligible to donate blood in Calgary, visit blood.ca.