Blood donations came up short in December in Alberta, including Red Deer, says Canadian Blood Services.
Shaun Richer, Canadian Blood Services territory manager in Red Deer, said the numbers are still being crunched, but donations didn’t reach targets likely because of a lengthy cold snap and the holiday season.
“With Christmas and holidays, it’s always a struggle for us to try and get people to come in and donate,” Richer said on Tuesday.
The focus has now turned to filling the roughly 1,500 donor appointments available at the Red Deer clinic this month.
“For the month of January as of today, we have 897 open appointments that we need to fill. We’re sitting at about 60 per cent right now.”
Red Deer is also looking for 170 new donors this month. New guidelines went into effect in early December regarding iron levels for donors that now require female donors to wait longer between blood donations. Instead of waiting eight weeks between donations, they have to wait 12 weeks.
“With our females not being able to donate as frequently, we need somebody to replace those lost donations.”
Male donors will also need to pass a slightly stricter hemoglobin test starting in March.
Richer said the new rules protect the health and wellness of blood donors.
This month the Red Deer clinic, located at 5020 68th St., will be challenging the Red Deer Rebels, and then local Rotary clubs in February, to help bring in more donors.
“Most people haven’t even thought of donating just simply because they haven’t been asked. That’s one of the biggest reasons why we do these different challenges.”
He said one in two Canadians are eligible to donate, but one in 60 do.
To book an appointment, use the Give Blood App, visit blood.ca, or call 1-888-236-6828.