With Christmas just around the corner, Canadian Blood Services is calling on Muskoka donors to help support the need for blood donations over the holidays by attending three local drives.
While one in two people are eligible to donate blood, only one person out of 60 does, according to Canadian Blood Services. Multiple holidays in quick succession can also mean that blood donation is not at the top of people’s to-do list, said Elaine St. Pierre, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Muskoka as well as Barrie, Simcoe, Dufferin and Grey. Winter weather and holiday celebrations often reduce the number of available donors, but the need for donations doesn’t stop and can actually be greater than usual over the holidays, especially when winter conditions lead to more accidents.
“We’ve always been able to count on our Muskoka donors,” St. Pierre said. “They know more than anybody that it’s a busy time of year, but they always still make that time and we want to encourage them that this holiday is no exception. Just giving an hour of your day for one of these events will certainly make the difference to a hospital patient in need.”
Platelets, which are a component in blood that helps with clotting, are a major concern as this time of year due to the fact that they only have a shelf life of seven days after donation. St. Pierre said the continued need for platelets is a big reason why the clinics need to “trudge ahead” and collect as much blood as possible during periods of bad weather.
“The need doesn’t stop for a snowstorm,” St. Pierre said. “People are still having cancer treatments, people are still having surgeries, there are still traumas and babies are still being born regardless.”
People who are ineligible to donate blood are encouraged to give financially, volunteer and help spread the word about the holiday drives. St. Pierre said that it’s important for those who can’t donate to encourage others to do it on their behalf and, for those making a donation, it’s a great chance to make it a family or community event by going in a group. Whether you’re going alone or with a group of friends, donating blood is the greatest thing you could do for hospital patients in need, she said.
“We thank everybody for the effort of coming out at a time that is so critical to us,” St. Pierre said. “We love, love our Muskoka donors.”
If you’ve never donated before, visit the Canadian Blood Services website to take an eligibility quiz and find other eligibility information. To learn more or to book an appointment, visit blood.ca, call 1-888-2-DONATE or use the GiveBlood app on mobile devices. Walk-in appointments are also available at all locations.
Muskoka holiday blood donation events will take place:
- Monday, Dec. 23, 2 to 7 p.m.
Faith Baptist Church: 169 West Road, Huntsville, ON
80 open appointments to fill
- Tuesday, Dec. 24, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Gravenhurst YMCA: 101 Centennial Drive, Gravenhurst, ON
70 open appointments to fill
- Monday, Dec. 30, 2 to 7 p.m.
Bracebridge Sportsplex: 110 Clearbrook Trail, Bracebridge, ON
80 open appointments to fill