With Victoria Day weekend almost upon us, Canadian Blood Services would like to remind people that the need for blood is still prevalent, even when people have gone on vacation.
“During the holidays people would typically forget about us… but we’re business as usual,” said Ann Chabert, territory manager with Canadian Blood Services. “There is no change other than we have to cry a little louder and hopefully people will think of us on long weekends.”
Chabert said there is a constant demand for blood, whether it is for people undergoing surgeries or for victims of car crashes.
In 2017, 540 people were injured in 2,300 crashes in B.C. over the May long weekend, according to ICBC. On Vancouver Island, 61 people were injured in 352 crashes over the 2017 Victoria Day weekend.
But Chabert noted that people need blood for many different reasons.
For example, up to eight donors per week are needed to help someone with leukemia, and up to two donors a day are needed to help someone undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
“For us, life goes on,” Chabert said. “Blood doesn’t have Victoria Day weekend off.”
There are about 40 open spots for blood donors over the May long weekend at the blood donor centre across from Uptown Shopping Centre. The clinic is located at 3449 Saanich Rd. and is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On average, only four per cent of Canadians actually donate blood, and yet 50 per cent of the population says that they or someone they know has needed blood products at one point in their life.
Those that would like to see if they are eligible to donate blood can take a 10-second eligibility quiz at https://blood.ca/en/blood/am-i-eligible. Only 50 per cent of Canadians are eligible to donate blood.
The clinic is also happy to accept walk-ins if there is space, but the clinic cannot guarantee how long the wait will be. On average, donating blood takes about one hour for someone who has booked an appointment and that includes everything from the questionnaire at the beginning to snacks at the end.
To better prepare for donation, Chabert said individuals should have a good meal and be well-hydrated before hand. First-time donors are treated with extra care, making sure they are comfortable, understand the process and are monitored more closely.
Canadian Blood Services also welcomes group donors or team building blood drives.