It’s in you to give
The Canadian Blood Services has been hosting several events on campus – including ‘What’s Your Type’, ‘Blood Clinic’, and a ‘Get Swabbed’ – this year to help boost the blood quota in Regina.
Jamie Lewis, a community development coordinator at Canadian Blood Services, spoke about the events happening this semester on campus.
“Coming up, we’ve got [a] ‘What’s Your Type’ clinic on [Nov. 21] in the Riddell Centre and that’s leading up to the donor clinic on Nov. 28,” she said.
One of the most sucessful events on campus this semester was the One Match program. Lewis gave a brief explanation about the program saying that the “Canadian Blood Services is not only … mandated to collect blood and blood products, but we also manage the One Match stem cell and bone marrow registry. The purpose of the ‘Get Swabbed’ event is to encourage young people to join our One Match registry that involves a simple cheek swab.”
Lewis further explained that the cheek swabs would be analyzed and then included in a database for those who need a donor.
“Those individuals who are in need of a stem cell transplant who can’t find a match within their family then look into the national registry. From what I understand, the patient outcomes are the best when the donors are young males between 17 and 24. It’s also important to have an ethnically diverse [registry], as most patients are likely to find a match within their own genetic heritage,” she said.
The blood clinics on campus offer another way for students to get involved with the Canadian Blood Services. On Sept. 17, the organiation hosted a donor clinic, and another one is scheduled for Nov. 26.
“For the U of R [November] clinic, we still have 23 appointments to be filled, but we can accommodate some walk-ins,” Lewis said. “We just ask that if you can’t make it to your appointment that you inform us. We’re trying to make it as convenient as possible, and it typically takes around one hour.”
“It’s the most direct way you can affect hospital patients. Your whole entire donation is used and it goes directly and immediately to patients…These are patients like car accident victims, cancer patients, newborn babies and sometimes burn victims. One cancer patient might need five donations a week just to ensure they’re healthy enough to receive treatments. Your donation is important.” – Jamie Lewis
Lewis also dispelled some of the myths that many people seem to have about blood donations, and the demand for blood.
“The thing about blood donation is that it’s constant. We can’t collect a whole lot of blood and keep it on our shelves. It expires. We have to make sure we have the right amount of blood on our shelves at all times,” she emphisized.
Lewis also explained what happens to the blood once it is donated.
“We process all of the blood for the whole entire province here in Regina. Our production facility is right here, and the blood is typically used within 5-14 days. Once it is all tested, it goes directly from our facility to all of the hospitals based on their requests and their needs,” she commented.
Blood donation is one of the more effective ways students can get involved and help hospitals, especially during their busy season, such as the holidays.
“It’s the most direct way you can affect hospital patients. Your whole entire donation is used and it goes directly and immediately to patients…These are patients like car accident victims, cancer patients, newborn babies and sometimes burn victims. One cancer patient might need five donations a week just to ensure they’re healthy enough to receive treatments. Your donation is important,” Lewis urged.
For students who are interested in donating, they can book an appointment for the Nov. 26 blood clinic on campus by calling the 1-888-2-DONATE, or signing up online at www.blood.ca. Donors are reminded to eat a healthy breakfast prior to donating and to bring their ID.
Lewis explained that the Canadian Blood Services wants to make donations a constant part of student life, and she encourages students to be part of this process.
“Really, we’re trying to make it as convenient as possible.”
Photo courtesy xarj.net