A gift from the heart: Holiday blood drive needs donors

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As the season of giving is upon us, Canadian Blood Services is hopeful for some donations coming straight from the heart. Appointment times are still available for the Huntsville Holiday Blood Drive on December 17 and potential donors are encouraged to roll up their sleeves.

“Donations tend to decrease during the holidays,” says Elaine St. Pierre, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Barrie, Muskoka, Simcoe, Dufferin & Grey. She lists family commitments and travel plans as possible reasons  regular donors might not make it out to a donation center. “That’s why new donors are so critical to meeting Canada’s blood needs.”

St. Pierre estimated that between a five- and eight-day supply of blood and blood products are needed to meet anticipated hospital demands.

“Cancer patients, accident victims and individuals with blood disorders can require transfusions every day,” says St. Pierre. “Our donors help ensure that the national demand can be met and that patients get the care that they need.” Currently, she says, their supply of O-negative sits at an estimated four-day supply.

While all blood types help patients, O-negative blood is in particular demand by hospitals because it is the only type compatible with all other blood types. O-negative blood is used in the most critical situations: for neonates, for patients with compromised immune systems, and for trauma victims. “When seconds count, someone’s life is on the line, and there’s no time to check blood type, hospital patients in an emergency can all receive O-negative blood,” says St. Pierre.

Considering becoming a donor? Curious about the process? St. Pierre boasts that her staff are some of the best in the business. “They’re warm and welcoming and ready to answer all your questions and guide you through the process to ensure you have a great experience and keep coming back.” St. Pierre also mentions that the whole process takes just over an hour.

When asked about preparing to donate, St. Pierre offers, “Prepare your body: Drink lots of water, eat a healthy meal and try your best to get a good night’s sleep.”

As the last Blood Drive in Huntsville was cancelled due to inclement weather, St. Pierre is asking that all potential donors visit the website and take the eligibility quiz at blood.ca prior to making an appointment. Donors are also welcome to contact staff with any questions or concerns at 1-888-2-DONATE.

The upcoming Huntsville Blood Drive will be held Monday, December 17 at Faith Baptist Church (169 West Rd) from 2:00-7:00 p.m. with a goal to collect 120 blood donations. Book your appointment at blood.ca or on the GiveBlood app.

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