A simple, remarkable gift

The simple act is often the most dramatic. Simple, like giving a blood donation. Yet often, we either neglect to do our part or feel unreasonably squeamish about making the small sacrifice necessary.

The simple act is often the most dramatic. Simple, like giving a blood donation.

Yet often, we either neglect to do our part or feel unreasonably squeamish about making the small sacrifice necessary.

Accidents, calamity and misfortune are part of our lives. We are a mobile, active and mistake-prone society.

We run risks, some built into our DNA, some built into our social structure. We need new hips and knees, and modern medicine can supply them. We need heart surgery, or any number of other procedures that keep us alive and active.

And anyone can fall from well-being to serious injury in a heartbeat.

When the risks don’t fall in our favour, we may need a blood transfusion.

According to an Ipsos-Reid poll, 52 per cent of Canadians say that they or a family member have needed blood products.

Yet Canadian Blood Services says only 425,000 Canadians are active blood donors (giving at least once in a year), and an estimated 90,000 new donors are needed each year to sustain the system.

Why are the rest of us not doing our part?

For some it’s a matter of faith (some religions prohibit blood donations); for others its a dislike of needles; others have health conditions that they believe, rightly or wrongly, prevent them from donating (those with AIDS, cancer and several other illnesses can’t donate). Lifestyles, some tattoos and even some travel might cause ineligibility.

But for the vast majority of Canadians, the only real reason people don’t step forward to donate blood is that they just can’t be bothered.

Canadian Blood Services says that, on average, someone needs blood products every minute in Canada.

The Canada Transportation Safety Board says that 160,000 Canadians are injured in vehicle accidents every year. The most recent figures in Alberta show 27,000 people injured in car crashes.

Farm injuries in Alberta resulted in 532 people seeking treatment in 2009 alone.

In general, Alberta’s 2010 lost-time claim rate for workplace accidents is 1.41 injuries for every 100 full-time jobs.

The picture is clear: the potential uses for blood products surround us.

The need for commitment from donors is accentuated by the fact that blood products don’t have an indefinite shelf life. Red blood cells are useless after 42 days and platelets survive just five days.

The average person can donate blood six times a year, and it will take you about an hour on each occasion.

Six hours of your life a year is surely a minor sacrifice when the result could be lives saved.

This month, members of the local RCMP and Red Deer Emergency Services are giving blood as part of their annual Sirens for Life donor challenge. And they are asking the community to join them.

On Central Alberta’s busy roads, in our homes and at our workplaces, the community’s fire-medics and police see the need for blood products every day.

And these emergency workers understand the value of the simple, dramatic gift of blood.

So should you. To do you part, call 1 888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or go online at www.blood.ca.

John Stewart is the Advocate’s managing editor.

Just Posted

Trains no longer blow leading up to the controlled crossing at 49th Avenue in Innisfail. (Photo contributed by the Town of Innisfail)
Innisfail says goodbye to train whistles

Whistles eliminated at four crossings

Red Deer College has been upgrading roofing, mechanical control systems, and lighting with $13 million in capital maintenance funding from the province. (Photo by Advocate staff)
$13 million in maintenance work underway at Red Deer College

Projects improve teaching, learning, and working spaces

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waits to take his seat at the EU-Canada Summit Monday June 14, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to visit Pfizer on final day of international pandemic trip, begin quarantine

WTO looks at making it easier for developing countries to import expertise, equipment and ingredients for vaccines

Houses under construction in Toronto on Friday, June 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CMHC says annual pace of housing starts rose 3.2 per cent in May compared with April

Starts for apartments, condos and other multiple-unit housing projects rose

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2013 file photo, customers leave an IKEA store in Plaisir, west of Paris. A French court has ordered home furnishings giant Ikea to pay more than $1.2 million in fines and damages Tuesday, June 15, 2021 over a campaign to spy on union representatives. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, FIle)
Ikea fined $1.3 million over spying campaign in France

Convicted of receiving personal data obtained through fraudulent means in a habitual way

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Opinion
Opinion: Governments should come together to collaborate paid sick leave in Canada

If we let our guard down, COVID-19 is highly transmissible and will… Continue reading

Finnish players celebrate with their fans after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, June 12, 2021. Finland won 1-0. (Friedemann Vogel/Pool via AP)
Finland plays Russia with Euro 2020 knockout stage in reach

Finns played in their first ever game at a major soccer tournament

Scotland’s Allan Dell (1) is tackled by Canada’s Matt Heaton (7) and Lucas Rumball (6) during first half action of men’s international rugby in Edmonton, Alta., on June 9, 2018. Heaton, of Rugby ATL, Ben LeSage and Lucas Rumball, both of the Toronto Arrows, will co-captain Canada next month for rugby test matches in Wales and England. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canada names 30-man roster for July rugby internationals against Wales, England

July test marks the first games for Canadian men since October 2019 at the Rugby World Cup

Montreal’s Deanna Bowen, seen in an undated handout photo, has won the $50,000 annual Scotiabank Photography Award. Award organizers say Bowen’s family history has been a central part of her work since the early 1990s. She’s descended from Alabama and Kentucky-born Black Prairie pioneer families from the central Alberta communities of Amber Valley and Campsie. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Courtesy of the artist
Montreal’s Deanna Bowen wins $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award

Bowen to receive solo exhibition at 2022 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival

Treena Mielke
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) blocks a shot by Vegas Golden Knights left wing William Carrier (28) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday in Las Vegas. (Photo by The Associated Press)
Canadiens take 4-1 loss to Vegas Golden Knights in Stanley Cup semifinal opener

Golden Knights 4 Canadiens 1 (Las Vegas leads series 1-0) LAS VEGAS… Continue reading

Philadelphia 76ers' coach Doc Rivers yells to his players during the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Atlanta Hawks, Monday, June 14, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Young leads Hawks’ rally past Sixers with Embiid hurting

Hawks 103 76ers 100 ATLANTA — Trae Young overcame a cold start… Continue reading

Most Read