The downturn in the economy affects many things, even the number of people giving blood.
Canadian Blood Services in Red Deer is busy encouraging people to book one of over 400 open appointments over the Christmas period until Jan. 2.
Judy Jones, Associate Director of Donor Relations for Alberta, Saskatchewan and NWT, says that besides the fact that people have other things on their minds at this time of year, the Partners for Life program is seeing fewer donations.
Partners for Life involves corporate and community organizations making regular group donations. But with people being laid off, and businesses not as able to give remaining workers time off from work, the result is fewer donors.
Jones said one of their main target groups right now is men and women ages 35 to 53. This group does not donate as much, likely because of busy lifestyles. But it also happens to be the age group that once committed, they get the best returns from, said Jones.
Blood donations have a limited shelf, so just like “milk in a fridge” there is a need for continual donations. For example, the platelets in blood, have a shelf life of five days. White blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days.
Blood donations by individuals can be made every 56 days. Jones said they need a minimum of 110 first-time donors at the Red Deer clinic each month.
While the blood supply is good now, she said the challenge during the holiday season is there are fewer hours to collect blood. But the need and demand remains the same.
Jones said that while people may not be able to give money during the current economic times, giving blood is one way people can donate without digging into their pockets.
People can come in and donate a unit of blood to save a life and still be giving back to the community, she said.
People can book appointments by calling 1-888-236-6283. They can also download on their mobile devices the free application GiveBlood, available in iOS and Android.
The Red Deer blood donor clinic, at #5 5020 – 68th St., has appointments available on the following days:
Tuesday: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. ; Wednesday: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday Dec. 24: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturday Dec. 26: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Dec. 29: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Dec. 30: 3 to 7 p.m.; Dec. 31: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Jan. 2: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about other appointment times available, donating blood and other services offered by Canadian Blood Services, go to blood.ca