Just as many Lacombians and Canadians do on a regular basis, City of Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie and CAO Norma MacQuarrie donated blood at the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) mobile clinic at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on Monday afternoon.
The donations were made in support of CBS’s ongoing need for donors.
During the month of June, CBS has been encouraging municipal public service employees to donate blood on behalf of their communities.
Lacombe residents are also encouraged to donate blood throughout the summer to ensure there is an adequate supply for Canadian hospital patients.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said CBS Associate Director of Donor Relations in Alberta and Saskatchewan Judy Jones. “ We come into Lacombe every two months to do our blood donor clinic. Today we have our public servant challenge so it’s a great opportunity to thank the donors and also get some of our local politicians involved and increase the awareness about blood donation.”
Jones said over the summer months with holidays and many individuals heading outdoors to camp and enjoy the beach, the number of donations does tend to drop.
“Most people are busy in the summer so they forget its part of their regular routine,” said Jones. “They may forget to book that appointment or they are just so busy so they are not able to come in because they are on holidays.
“The patient needs don’t change over the summer holidays. People’s lives get busy, those type of things, but the unit that you donate just before you go on holidays really can be within a patient within five days. It’s a great opportunity to give before you go and really just increase the awareness over the summer holidays.”
Jones encouraged residents that if they have a day off, they can pop in to the Red Deer donor clinic or book a donation appointment online. She noted returning donors and first time donors should book an appointment in advance at the next mobile clinic to ensure they are in and out in a timely manner.
“You can help save a life within five days.”
CBS needs around 170,000 additional donors each year to maintain the national blood supply.
Christie acknowledged that donating blood is of huge importance in the community.
“I spent 12 years on our Lacombe Fire Department and I was at a lot of incidents where people required blood,” he said. “I also had a grandson who spent two-and-a-half years in the Stollery who required a lot of blood. It’s near and dear to my heart. It’s very important for us to give for the life of others.”
Christie noted as a universal donor, he has been encouraged to donate regularly, but through some traveling to countries, which CBS considers of greater risk to exposure to diseases, he has been unable to give blood for a few years.
But this past Monday, he was back in the chair and up to challenging other municipalities to get involved.
“I would like to challenge the Town of Rimbey to get as many people out from their council and administration, and other communities as well, like Red Deer and Sylvan Lake.”
Even though CBS has noted a loss of 40% of their donor base each year, Christie said that awareness is a big part of encouraging donors to return.
“I think word of mouth is great way to get people out,” he said.
The next mobile donor clinic in Lacombe will be held in August. For more information about being a blood donor or to schedule an appointment visit www.blood.ca.