Canadian Blood Services is urging people on Prince Edward Island to book appointments to donate blood early in the new year to help address ongoing needs across the country.
According to the organization, there are more than 280 available donation appointments that need to be filled in Charlottetown before the end of January.
"There is that ongoing need for all blood types every single day of the year," said Gordon Skiffington, community development manager with Canadian Blood Services in Atlantic Canada.
"We'd really love to see you between January 1st and the end of January."
Since October, the nationwide inventory of blood products has dropped more than 35 per cent, Skiffington said. He said this national supply provides blood products to all provinces, including P.E.I., and there is always a need for more people to contribute to that supply.
Donor recruitment challenges
Skiffington said recruiting new donors has been a challenge since the beginning of the pandemic and donations typically slow down across the country during winter months.
"Over the last week or so because of the extreme weather conditions out west in British Columbia, Alberta and central Ontario we lost around 1,500 units of blood that we were anticipating collecting but because of weather we had to cancel clinics," Skiffington said.
On P.E.I., illnesses like COVID-19 and influenza have also made collecting donations challenging this fall, he added. P.E.I.'s donation clinic is also dealing with a high number of missed appointments or no-shows and Skiffington is asking those who can't make appointments to cancel as far in advance as possible so those spaces have a better chance of being filled.
"It's really important that people book appointments, honour their appointments and if for some reason they can't safely get to a donor centre we ask that they reschedule as soon as they can."
Skiffington is asking anyone aged 17 and up to try to support Canadian Blood Services in three different ways in 2023. The organization's website outlines the "3 in 2023" campaign, saying those ways could include "time, expertise, a financial gift or a life-saving donation."
For those considering making a blood donation, Skiffington said, "Take the eligibility quiz to see if you're eligible to give."
"Within, you know, three to five days your blood could be transfused in a patient somewhere in the country. It's one of the direct ways each and every one of us has to saving somebody's life."
In a statement, the province said P.E.I.'s current supply of blood products is good but there is a need for more donors. It said Health P.E.I. encourages everyone who can to donate and consider it a New Year's resolution for 2023.