COLUMN: Blood an easy, rewarding donation

Saturday Beat

I admit it, I was a little skeptical when my wife Mary, who volunteers and donates when the Canadian Blood Services clinic comes to town, asked me if I would go with her and “just try it.”

I wasn’t too keen on the whole stick-a-needle-in-me idea, or spending around an hour getting processed, or lying on a bed in front of strangers as my blood flowed into a bag.

It took a year for her to convince me.

Then it slowly seeped in how important it was to her, so with a little trepidation and a short debate with myself, I went to the clinic.

Turns out I needn’t have worried. I ended up knowing a fair number of people at the clinic, people I talk to on a regular basis, and had no idea they were donors.

What I thought would be an hour (or so) of uncomfortable medical practices turned into an hour of enjoyable socializing, interrupted only by a pin prick or two.

It was rewarding, and the fact that they pipe in Vancouver Canucks’ playoff games didn’t hurt, either. Now on my 14th donation (Mary is passed her 50th), every two months the phone rings reminding me of my appointment (CBS is now notifying donors via e-mail and even text messaging) and I look forward to going.

I now wonder why I took so long, and if you need a little encouragement to try it ask yourself this: If you saw somebody who was just in a car crash, would you help them? If you saw a co-worker injured on the job, would you rush to their aid? If you had a friend that had a critical illness and needed a blood transfusion, would you volunteer to donate?

Of course you would.

Which is why it makes so much sense to donate your blood on a regular basis because chances are, somebody you know will eventually require Canadian Blood Services to save their life.

It may even be you.

According to a recent Ipsos-Reid poll, 52 per cent of Canadians say they or a family member have needed blood or blood products like plasma for surgery or medical treatment.

Yet just two per cent of the country’s population, or 425,000 Canadians, are active donors, meaning that they have donated at least once in the last 12 months. One person can donate blood up to six times a year, improving the quality of life or even saving the lives of up to 18 people.

A single donation, which takes as little as one hour of your time, can save up to three lives.

To keep up with demand, Canadian Blood Services estimates it needs about 90,000 new donors each year to build a long-lasting and sufficient donor base, and as the summer and a string of long weekends near, demand for blood increases as regular donors become less available.

As donors go on vacation, things like cancer treatment, coronary bypasses, auto and other accidents, organ transplants and various surgeries don’t, so blood stocks drop drastically and people who desperately need transfusions can’t get them.

Blood is always in need. Cancer treatment requires up to eight units a week, and a car accident or gunshot victim needs up to 50 units. A liver transplant requires up to 100 units.

It’s a problem that can be solved with very little effort, and local businesses and organizations are also getting involved to help.

In 2010, employees from Nanaimo’s Pacific Biological Station rallied and donated 119 units of blood,  the best total in the city, as part of CBS’s Partners For Life program. City of Nanaimo and Coast Capital Savings employees were also recognized by CBS for their efforts in encouraging employees to donate.

Over the next three or four months, it will be more important than ever to keep Canada’s blood supply topped up.

If you have the time, simply call 1-888-236-6283 to set up an appointment or visit for more information.

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

An event on the lawn of the B.C. legislature in Victoria on Tuesday to remember the 215 children whose remains were confirmed buried in unmarked graves outside a Kamloops residential school. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canada’s racist systems cannot ever be forgiven

Teen letter writer from Nunavut calls for truth and reconciliation

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read