Need for blood rises with sum­mer tem­per­a­tures

The Beacon Herald - - NEWS - TERRY BRIDGE STAFF RE­PORTER

Blood do­nated in Strat­ford may end up sav­ing a life in Sarnia, Chatham, Lon­don or Wood­stock.

Or it may flow in the other di­rec­tion. Stephanie Wilkinson, a ter­ri­tory man­ager for Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices, said no mat­ter where a donor clinic is based in south­west­ern On­tario, the life-sav­ing fluid is dis­trib­uted through­out the area.

“All of the blood is shared through­out the re­gion, so it’s not like blood col­lected in Wood­stock is only sup­port­ing Wood­stock. … it’s be­ing shared through­out the re­gion to sup­port all hos­pi­tals,” she said.

Wilkinson said the need for do­na­tions is rel­a­tively the same in each com­mu­nity, but it rises with the tem­per­a­tures. With school out and va­ca­tions or out­door ac­tiv­i­ties oc­cu­py­ing many po­ten­tial donors, the sup­ply typ­i­cally dwin­dles.

“It can be re­ally dif­fi­cult to make sure there’s enough peo­ple sup­port­ing area blood donor clin­ics in the sum­mer­time,” Wilkinson said.

A clinic is sched­uled for Satur­day morn­ing at the Strat­ford Ro­tary Com­plex, but on­line reg­is­tra­tions are “not great” as of Thurs­day, Wilkinson said. It’s only on pace to col­lect half of the 60-do­na­tion goal. Wilkinson con­ceded it’s dif­fi­cult to con­vince peo­ple to give up an hour on a Satur­day morn­ing in July, but “we’d cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate those that are able to do so to come out and sup­port it.”

Or­ga­niz­ers are hop­ing to col­lect 150 do­na­tions at a larger af­ter­noon ses­sion in Strat­ford on July 31 – so far only 50 have signed up.

Clin­ics will be avail­able through­out the re­gion this sum­mer.

Wilkinson said Lon­don has a per­ma­nent site open six days per week, while tem­po­rary clin­ics typ­i­cally op­er­ate in Sarnia three times per month and once per month in Chatham and Wood­stock.

“It just de­pends on the com­mu­nity and the size,” Wilkinson said.

On­line reg­is­tra­tions and walkups are both wel­comed, al­though staff is see­ing an in­crease in book­ings through the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web­site blood.ca and its app.

The to­tal process takes about an hour, but nee­dles are typ­i­cally only in arms for about 15 min­utes. Each hour is cru­cial, though, with more area res­i­dents trav­el­ling roads and wa­ter­ways lead­ing to an in­crease in col­li­sions.

“It can take sev­eral blood donors to sup­port a pa­tient that’s been in­jured se­verely in an ac­ci­dent,” Wilkinson said. “It’s im­por­tant to make sure there’s an ad­e­quate sup­ply of blood prod­ucts on hand.” tbridge@post­media.com

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