Across Canada over 150,000 open blood donor appointments need to be filled this summer, including 3,300 in Red Deer.
Canadian Blood Services says over the course of the pandemic donor behaviour changed and fewer people are donating regularly. Combined with other major recent events across Canada, there has been an impact on appointment bookings and donor attendance.
“Typically we expect to see challenges filling appointments in the summer, when people are distracted by nice weather and vacation plans. This year the lag has hit sooner than we expected,” said Ron Vezina, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of public affairs, in a statement.
“We can’t pause the need for blood. We still need people to make blood and plasma donation a priority now and going into the summer months.”
He said June 11 to 17 is National Blood Donor Week and Canadian Blood Services to thank those who have donated, but right now there are not enough people donating.
“People may take it for granted that blood and blood products will be there if their loved ones need them, however, hospitals only have these products when someone makes the time to give.”
The agency says one in two people are eligible to donate blood and plasma, but only one in 81 does donate.
As part of National Blood Donor Week, mayors across Canada, including Mayor Ken Johnston, are encouraging their residents to donate.
In recognition of the week, more than 60 landmarks across the country will be lit up with the colour red to remind people that blood and plasma donors are needed every day. Red Deer City Hall will be red on June 14.
Red Deer’s blood clinic has a maximum of 288 appointments available each week, and as of Monday, there were 115 appointments still open this week.
Canadian Blood Services in Red Deer is open Wednesday and Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To donate, download the GiveBlood app, visit blood.ca, or call 1 888 2DONATE (1-888-236-6283) and book an appointment.
Vezina urged people to make donating part of their summer plans.
“Whether you’ve given blood in the past but haven’t donated in a while, or if you have considered donating but haven’t taken the first step, now is the time to turn that intention into action. If you aren’t able to donate, you can help by encouraging others to book an appointment.”