Blood donors are needed to fill about 370 appointments in Central Alberta between now and Jan. 6 to help fill the need for donations this holiday season.
Typically the holidays are a slower time for blood donations. Travel, family activities and changes in routines pose challenges to blood collections, especially the last half of December into the New Year.
As of Wednesday across Canada there were 18,000 open appointments.
Shaun Richer, Canadian Blood Services territory manager for Red Deer and Central Alberta, said the number of donors needed locally is comparable to last Christmas.
“It’s always a struggle during the holidays. We get that during the holiday season people are travelling. They’re spending more time with family, but for us we’re pretty much always open other than Christmas Day,” Richer said on Thursday.
“Right now we’re trying to let people know we’re still open during the holidays.”
He said the Red Deer blood donor clinic is closed on New Year’s Day because the clinic is always closed on Monday. But a mobile clinic will be operating in Rocky Mountain House, at Church of the Nazarene, 5340 59th Ave., from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. with 66 open appointments.
The Red Deer clinic is open 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s closed Sunday and Monday.
All blood types are encouraged to donate, but the supply of O-negative blood is in demand because it can be used by any recipient regardless their blood type. Only seven per cent of Canadians are O-negative, he said.
“Every day we always get an update. Right now as of this morning we’re under a two-day supply of O-negative blood so it’s flashing red right now.”
Richer said the clinic will accept walk-ins just because people are so busy right now. Those who want to secure a time can still book an appointment online at blood.ca, by downloading the GiveBlood app., or calling 1-888-236-6283.
Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec).