'Lives depend on it': Canadian Blood Services issues urgent call for blood donations

It really is in you to give — donate blood today and save someone's life.

Lisa Machado 2 minute read May 18, 2022
someone passing a heart to someone else

Since the start of April, Canada's national inventory of blood has dropped by a whopping 25 per cent. GETTY

Canadian Blood Services — known as ‘Canada’s Lifeline’ — has issued an urgent plea for blood donations.

Since the start of April, Canada’s national inventory of blood has dropped by a whopping 25 per cent due to people cancelling appointments to donate as well as low attendance at donor centres.

“Donor attendance had remained strong during past waves of COVID-19, but we have seen a notable shift since mid-March. We have experienced a 10 per cent increase in late cancellations and missed appointments influenced by recent illness, isolation requirements and the lifting of restrictions, and a seven per cent rise in deferrals related in part to increased travel,” Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice-president of donor relations, said in a press release.

According to CBS, although one in two people in Canada are eligible to donate blood, plasma, and platelets, only one in 81 does — which is unsustainable given the needs of Canadian patients.

“We are now in a precarious situation as we emerge from the sixth wave of COVID-19,” said Prinzen. “Given the uncertainty of future variants and what living with COVID-19 is going to look like, along with the increased need for donors over the summer months that are typically a challenging time for blood and plasma collections, patients rely on new and returning donors to show up and help us this week, next month and for months to come. Lives depend on it.”

Why donate?

Every 60 seconds someone needs blood, plasma or platelets in order to live. It could be a baby needing a blood transfusion, one of the 4,400 people waiting for an organ donation, a car accident victim who needs the typical 50 units of blood, someone living with leukemia who needs up to eight units of blood weekly, a person having heart surgery who may need up to five units of blood, or one of the 75 per cent of people needing a stem cell transplant who don’t have a match within their family.

To book an appointment to donate and join Canada’s Lifeline, download the GiveBlood app, call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or book now at blood.ca.