Canadian Blood Services appeals to the public for more donors

·2 min read
Officials with Canadian Blood Services say they need 100,000 new donors across the country to help replenish the national blood inventory. (CBC - image credit)
Officials with Canadian Blood Services say they need 100,000 new donors across the country to help replenish the national blood inventory. (CBC - image credit)

When Traci Kidd started donating blood at age 17 while in high school, she saw it as a way to get out of class. Then it became her goal to earn the same 50-donation recognition certificate her uncle received.

Thirty-six years later, the Lower Sackville, N.S., resident is still a regular blood donor and sees a bigger picture than her teenage self did back when she first started rolling up her sleeve.

"Now it's because I want to and because I want to help, and I know how important it is," Kidd said during a phone interview.

Officials with Canadian Blood Services say they need more people like Kidd.

A drop of 31,000 donors

The organization says they're dealing with the smallest donor base in a decade, which has stalled efforts to replenish the national blood inventory following two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. During what is marked as national blood donor week, the organization is trying to raise awareness of the need for 100,000 new donors.

The number of people who donate blood regularly dropped nationally by 31,000 since the start of the pandemic, said Kathy Gracie, associate regional director of donor relations for Atlantic Canada. In Halifax alone, there are 340 open appointments still for the month of June.

"One of the biggest reasons for the donor base being so small is that we weren't able to go out into the community and do those donor recruitment events because of the pandemic," Gracie said in an interview.

Although Canadian Blood Services is able to meet demand from hospitals, Gracie said the most recent appeal is about ensuring the situation doesn't become dire.

'It's such an important thing to do'

Such appeals are particularly successful in Atlantic Canada, she said.

"When we ask people to come out and donate, they do. So we're asking people to come out."

Although donor clinics no longer accept walk-ins, same-day appointments are available, which allow for better flow of operations, said Gracie. People are in and out within an hour, she said.

Kidd donated blood throughout the pandemic and said she was comfortable with all the safety protocols in place. Blood continued to be required in the last two years, she said, and she knows that isn't about to change.

"It's such an important thing to do," she said. "I wish there was a way that more people could be encouraged to do it and just get out there and give, because we are saving people by doing that."

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