It’s our time to give

Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices, The Tele­gram team up to Save Lives

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - FRONT PAGE - tele­gram@thetele­gram.com

Blood do­na­tion is ground zero for treat­ing a litany of med­i­cal is­sues.

Whether you were in a car ac­ci­dent, a child or adult with leukemia, a pre­ma­ture baby in neo-natal ICU, a dial­y­sis pa­tient or some­one who has had a car­diac surgery, blood prod­ucts are re­quired to help save th­ese lives.

“Ev­ery­body should give blood,” Dr. Lucinda Wil­liams, a hema­tol­o­gist for East­ern Health and Memo­rial Univer­sity said.

“It is easy to give blood and it doesn’t take that long,’’ she added not­ing it could be any­one of us at any time re­quir­ing a blood prod­uct.

She said New­found­lan­ders and Labrado­ri­ans lead the way each year in giv­ing blood, but sta­tis­ti­cally it is only a small por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion who are donors, around two per cent.

So where are the rest of us?

“There is a large num­ber of peo­ple out there miss­ing an op­por­tu­nity to help,’’ Whit­man said.

“In­creas­ing the pool of blood avail­able is im­por­tant to peo­ple who re­quire it.”

For the 8th year on a row, The Tele­gram is part­ner­ing with Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices in The Tele­gram Saves Lives blood ini­tia­tive. The blood drive kicks off this morn­ing, Oct. 13 and runs through Oct. 21.

The cam­paign — which has re­ceived in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion — is held an­nu­ally to gen­er­ate blood do­na­tions and raise aware­ness of the on­go­ing need for blood.

To date, it has re­sulted in well over 1,000 blood do­na­tions.

The Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices lo­ca­tion at 7 Wick­low St. is open to­day and Satur­day, and from Tues­day to Satur­day.

Whit­man said Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices is al­ways in need of O neg­a­tive blood. It is the one type from all the blood groups that can be given to any pa­tient.

She said ap­prox­i­mately 40 per cent of res­i­dents in this prov­ince have O type blood and 15 per cent are O neg­a­tive among Cau­casians.

She said there are peo­ple who give on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and oth­ers who par­tic­i­pate in a blood drive fol­low­ing a big dis­as­ter.

What she would like to see is a larger cross-sec­tion of so­ci­ety step­ping up and be­ing part of the group that makes reg­u­lar blood do­na­tions.

As an ex­am­ple, Whit­man said red cells only last for 42 days. If they are not used they ex­pire and have to be re­placed.

“If no­body do­nates, the sup­ply runs out.”

Ap­prox­i­mately 21,000 peo­ple were given one or more fresh blood com­po­nents in the prov­ince in 2015. Those com­po­nents, all de­rived from one unit of blood do­na­tion in­cludes red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

Of the 21,000, ap­prox­i­mately 15,000 were red cells and 8,500 pa­tients were given ei­ther fresh com­po­nents or frac­tion­a­tion prod­ucts. Blood frac­tion­a­tion is the process of pro­cess­ing whole blood to sep­a­rate it into its com­po­nent parts, typ­i­cally done by cen­trifug­ing the blood.

Con­tact a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Cana­dian Blood Ser­vices at 709-758-5300 for any ques­tions about do­na­tion.

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