Cynthia Culp, on the left, a donor care associate looked after Deputy Mayor Theresa Bergeron at the Nov. 29 blood donor clinic in Winchester. Morin Photo
WINCHESTER – North Dundas and area residents came out Nov. 29 to donate their blood at the Joel Steel Community Centre in Winchester.
The Canadian Blood Services, (CBS) held the blood donor clinic as part of their regular schedule of donation events, but the need for blood donations has never been greater.
North Dundas Deputy Mayor, Theresa Bergeron was at the clinic to do her part.
Bergeron was concerned that older potential blood donors in the area may believe that they are too old to make a much-needed donation.
At the age of 71, Bergeron feels she is far from being finished doing her part to help others who need it.
Rhonda Coughlar, a Winchester resident and the Charge Donor Care Associate for the clinic said that the age limit for donations is no longer an issue. The only age limit now is that a donor has to be at least 17 years’ old.
She said, “Now if you meet all of the criteria you can donate blood.”
Residents can register online to donate their blood and at the same time can find out if they are allowed to. Visit blood.ca to find out information online or you can call 1-888-2 DONATE.
Bergeron said when she was younger, she weighed less than 110 pounds, and that weight limit prevented her from donating. A lifetime later she has gained enough weight to be eligible.
“There are so many people who could donate their blood, but they do not know that they can,” said Bergeron.
She donates her blood whenever she can when a blood donor clinic comes to Winchester or Kemptville.
On Nov. 29 Bergeron donated her blood, and her one donation will potentially help three other people.
“I cannot do this forever,” she said.
Bergeron is hoping to raise awareness about donating blood.
A press release from the Canadian Blood Services stated: “There is an immediate need for donors from all communities to book and keep appointments and help restore and grow the blood and plasma supply for patients this winter season.”
The organization has a shortfall of 1,500 or 10 per cent of their traditional and expected blood and plasma collections.
Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer and vice president of donor relations said, “Weather conditions are presenting significant challenges to our re-distribution opportunities, making national inventory balance a challenge. We urge donors from all communities across Canada, who can safely get to a Canadian Blood Services donation centre, to book an appointment as soon as possible to help restore and grow the blood and plasma supply for patients.”
Severe winter weather has contributed to several planned blood donation clinics across the region.
Prinzen said, “We’ve had to cancel many collection events since Dec. 20. In addition, donors will have had difficulty meeting their scheduled appointments. We anticipate disruptions to continue in the weeks ahead as winter weather events continue to grip the country. Patients across Canada need donors more than ever as we head into the new year. Poor weather can also create an increase in trauma events, increasing the demand for blood. Every donation counts. It could literally save a life.”
Canada’s blood inventory has fallen by over 35 per cent since the start of October.
The CBS announced last week, “Currently, we have three or four days on hand of several blood types. The ideal inventory of fresh blood products is between five and eight days. We can and will turn this around and we need donors to fill all open appointments. We are extremely grateful to the donors that regularly donate and also respond to these immediate needs. We also strongly encourage new donors to join Canada’s lifeline. Ensuring that the national supply meets patients’ needs over the coming weeks is an imperative for all of us. We also ask that donors, to the extent possible and reasonable, keep their appointments this week and throughout January.”
A decline in regular donors has resulted in a drop of 31,000 since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients’ needs are still being met by the smallest donor base in a decade.
Book your appointment online at blood.ca, on the GiveBlood app, or by calling 1-888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
Joseph Morin is the Editor of the Eastern Ontario AgriNews, and the Record. He is, despite years of practice, determined to eventually play the guitar properly. He has served the Eastern Ontario community as a news editor, and journalist for the past 25 years with the Iroquois Chieftain, Kemptville Advance, West Carleton Review, and Ottawa Carleton Review in Manotick. He has never met a book he did not like.