Canadian Blood Services has a donation session planned for Lacombe on Dec. 24th at the Central Alberta Christian High School.
Hours run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., said Shaun Richer, territory manager at Canadian Blood Services.
Typically, the holidays can prove a challenging time for collecting donations as people are busy with Christmas plans and events, he added.
“We actually have two scheduled over the holiday break – the one coming up next Monday, December 24th is in Lacombe,” he said. “We are looking for over 65 donors to come out and support that centre.
“Walk-ins are welcome, but we also ask that people go onto blood.ca and book an appointment or they can call 1-888-236-6283 as well.”
Canadian Blood Services has called for more than 30,000 donors across the country to book and keep their appointments from Dec. 17th to Jan. 6th to ensure blood and blood products are available to help patients this Christmas season.
“The holiday season is always challenging for us because there is a change in routines – people are taking vacations, the kids are out of school, everyone is enjoying the season with friends and family. We understand that, but we are just here to remind people that if you are able to donate (it’s great) because there is a bit of an extra push with those schedules being interrupted,” he added.
Another mobile centre is set for Dec. 31st in Stettler.
As Richer said, blood donations do have a ‘shelf life’, so a continuous supply is vital.
Canadian Blood Services is also predicting the risk of a low supply of platelets – a vital blood component with a seven-day shelf life.
Platelets help make blood clot and are used in the treatment of many conditions. One of the most common uses for platelets is to treat cancer patients.
“Whole blood does have a shelf life of about 40 days,” he said. “When you buy milk, you know that it’s going to expire at a certain point. That’s exactly what happens with blood. And typically, in Alberta and right across Canada the supplies are used up well before that date. That’s why there is always that consistent need.”
Blood donations over the holidays are also needed for chemotherapy treatments, as well as trauma victims, cardiac surgeries, and organ transplants – procedures that all routinely take place between Christmas and New Year’s Day, noted a release.
“The holiday period is typically a challenging time to collect blood, with many regular donors away or busy with seasonal commitments,” said Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer.
“But the need for blood does not take a holiday, which is why donations at this time of year are so vitally important for patients,” says Prinzen, “We strongly encourage eligible donors to give blood. Your support will ensure we continue to help every patient, match every need and serve every Canadian.”
When donating blood, the standard donation is approximately 450 mL – slightly less than half a litre or two cups. This represents a small portion of the blood in a person’s body, as the average adult has about five litres.
It’s also not a huge time commitment to donate – the entire process takes just over an hour.
For anyone in Lacombe who would like to donate over the holidays but can’t make it in on Dec. 24th, there are opportunities to book appointments at the Red Deer office (5020 – 68th St).
For more information, or to book an appointment, call 403-309-3378.
Donations for any of the above sessions can also be booked via the GiveBlood app or by visiting www.blood.ca.