Blood donors, recruiters needed in Alberni

Mobile blood donor clinics run by Canadian Blood Services roll through Port Alberni every eight weeks and volunteers are needed.

Nurse Lee Ann Lyons assists Mark Norn in donating blood for his 21st time during a clinic last week.

Nurse Lee Ann Lyons assists Mark Norn in donating blood for his 21st time during a clinic last week.

Canadian Blood Services is looking for volunteers in communities across B.C. to help them achieve their donor recruitment goals in the next four years.

Blood is in short supply in Canada, which is old news. What is new, though, is the trend for longtime donors—baby boomers who are themselves aging—to suddenly be in need of blood products.

“A lot of our donor base are people that are baby boomers,” says Ciara Stewart, volunteer resources co-ordinator with Canadian Blood Services. “They are aging. As they age they may need blood themselves,” she said.

As a result, Canadian Blood Services is using volunteers to help get younger people in the door to start donating.

“We have a mandate nationally to recruit 100,000 new donors per year until 2015,” Stewart said.

Stewart was in town last week during the monthly mobile blood drive searching for community volunteers willing to help.

Having volunteers in the communities where blood drives happen is something that the volunteers have been asking for, she said. So Canadian Blood Services has responded. They’re looking for enthusiastic, energetic people to come up with fun ways to get the word out about blood donation and recruit new donors.

“Through the volunteers we hope to be able to reach more people on the community level,” Stewart said.

Mobile blood donor clinics roll through Port Alberni every eight weeks. A person can donate blood every eight weeks, hence the schedule. A person donates one unit of blood each time. There are requirements: a donor has to be between the ages of 17 and 61 years old, at least 110 pounds and feeling well on the day of donation.

It takes 50 units of blood to treat a car accident victim, and eight units of blood per week for one cancer patient. “That means eight donors have to walk through the door just to help one cancer patient,” Stewart said.

If you’re interested in volunteering or donating blood, please call 1-888-TO-DONATE or go online to blood.ca.

The mobile blood donor clinics will be back in Port Alberni Jan. 3–5 and Feb. 28–March 1 at the Best Western Barclay Hotel.

editor@albernivalleynews.com