Blood donor Daphne Dobie sits in a chair at the Italian Hall in Port Alberni, reading a book while a needle is hooked up to her left arm. She usually brings her iPad, she says, but she was in the middle of a very good book.
Dobie has given blood 104 times over the past three decades.
“We had a few relatives that had cancer and needed blood,” she said. “I don’t have any problem giving blood. I quite like doing it. Every time I do, I think, ‘I might have saved some lives.’”
Dobie says she attends the blood donor clinic at the Italian Hall every time she can. The entire process takes around half an hour, and only 10-15 minutes of that time is spent actually giving blood.
“There’s no sensation,” she said. “It just feels like I’m doing something I should be doing.”
Port Alberni’s Blood Donor Clinic will be changing from a two-day clinic to a three-day clinic shortly before World Blood Donor Day. While this month’s clinic continues on Thursday, Feb. 22 from 2–7 p.m., the next clinic will take place at the Italian Hall on June 5, 6 and 7. The days will run from 3-7 p.m. and territory manager Ann Chabert said she is hoping to accommodate more donors.
“It’s a shorter time per day, but we’re hoping for around 60 donors a day,” she explained.
Chabert said the collection target for a two-day clinic in Port Alberni is usually 140 donations. Each donor contributes about two cups of blood, which can be used for up to three patients.
“We typically schedule an average of 20 percent over target to allow us to consider donor deferrals,” said Chabert. Complications such as medication, exotic travel or high blood pressure can lead to a deferral.
The blood is collected, taken to a laboratory on the mainland, and then comes back to the Island to be administered to patients—a process that takes around five days.
“The impact is immediate to one patient, if not more,” said Chabert. “It’s a fairly short turnaround.”
A recent press release from Canadian Blood Services says more than 35,000 donors are needed by spring break to ensure all patients continue to have access to the blood and blood products they need.
“As we emerge from a particularly challenging winter, we’re asking Canadians to donate blood so that all patients have access to blood when they need it,” said Canadian Blood Services’ chief supply chain officer Rick Prinzen.
Visit blood.ca, download our GiveBlood app or call 1-888-2-DONATE and find a nearby donation site. Walk in appointments are also available at all locations.