Canadian Blood Services recently put out a call to action to Canadians for more blood donations amidst a concerning national shortage. Issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic and recent winter storms have had a big impact on supply and demand, leading to a need for new donors to help sustain the system.
In Cornwall, a blood donation event takes place at the Best Western (1515 Vincent Massey Drive) once a month.
“Cornwall is one of our best locations for regular blood donors and consistent blood donations. It’s a very, very important donation event to help sustain the blood units in our area. In fact, in 2022 Cornwall alone came in with 1,552 blood units that we collected and that is a large amount for one community,” explained Jan Grant, Community Development Manager for Eastern Ontario.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, regular blood donors decreased by 31,000 across Canada resulting in the country’s smallest blood donation base in a decade. While we are no longer in a critical situation, more regular blood donors are needed so the system is not always depending on the same small number of people to donate.
“This winter, we sustained several snowstorms. Those impacted our collections and our blood supply inventory, and we anticipate those disruptions to continue in the weeks ahead with more winter blasts that are coming our way,” Grant said.
As older donors gradually retire from blood donation, it is important for younger generations to participate in these clinics. Since the minimum age for donation is 17, Canadian Blood Services encourages soon-to-be high school graduates to make their first blood donation appointment to celebrate entering a new phase of their life in a positive and giving way.
Currently, appointments in Cornwall are fully booked for February and March. Individuals who are interested in donating are encouraged to book ahead into the months of April, May, or June. Appointments can also be made in surrounding areas such as Winchester, Rockland, Embrun, and Ottawa.
“The community and the volunteers that support the blood donor clinic are so vital. They come in, they work the refreshment area, they promote it in advance, they have a Facebook site,” shared Grant, “There’s a rotating group of people that support every month. It really is a wonderful thing. The Optimist Club is big into helping with that as well as many other service groups in the Cornwall area. That really is important to us, and we appreciate their work so much.”
Grant also pointed out that ‘wonderful winter travel’ may impact people’s eligibility to donate. Donors who want to keep up their regular blood donation appointments but are ineligible because of travel may still be able to donate plasma. There is a brand-new plasma center at Place D’Orleans Shopping Centre open six days a week, with evening and weekend appointments available.
Visit blood.ca or 1-888-2-DONATE to book and check your eligibility.