Steinbach and area residents who wanted to make an appointment for Monday, December 5th, or the clinic two weeks from now, December 19th will find themselves in a pickle.
"We can confirm that our donation events in Steinbach on December 5 and December 19 are fully booked up, due to the support of the community and our generous donors!" Morgan V from Canadian Blood Services (November 28, 2022).
That’s right, the Blood Donor Clinics at the EMC on Main in Steinbach are all booked up for the month of December.
The Prairie Region North, Community Development Manager of the Canadian Blood Services, Brett Lawrence says, “it's a nice problem to have when our clinics are so booked that people have a hard time finding open appointments.”
Lawrence commends the residents of Steinbach and area, “It's really just because we have such a dedicated blood donor base in this town. We've operated throughout the whole pandemic and people kept coming out to donate throughout the pandemic. Every time we came to Steinbach the people always came out and rolled up their sleeves to donate blood. So, it just goes to show that we have such a dedicated donor based here and just want to take this opportunity to thank them.”
Now if you have booked your appointment, but you are finding yourself under the weather, sick or feverish on the day, Lawrence says, “It's best to cancel and reschedule your appointment. If you're already not feeling well, you probably won't feel much better after donating blood. So, make sure that you're keeping your body well-rested and in top shape when you're trying to recover from your illness. So, I'd recommend people just reschedule their appointment for the next time we're in Steinbach which is January 2nd and January 16th. We're here twice a month, so plenty of opportunities to donate and we'll fill those canceled appointment times quickly.”
He also suggests that if you are able to make a blood donation on December 5th or 19th and all the appointments are filled, “go to blood.ca and check a day or two before those dates and there are probably going to open up a couple of spots because people may fall ill or not be able to donate, so there's going to be some openings up for those dates.”
Going forward, Lawrence says, Canadian Blood Services will continue to book online/phone-in appointments only, and no more walk-ups will be taken. “We'll continue with the appointment-only format. Apart from it is the residual effect of the pandemic and then also it's a good way to just keep the clinic flow very organized so when people come for their appointment, they know they have a spot there and it just keeps a clinic flow a lot smoother.”
Lawrence reminds residents of the southeast of why they should consider making a donation. “The need for blood never stops. There's a variety of situations where people need blood. Whole or red blood cells have a shelf life of about 42 days. So in an ideal world, we'd be able to collect all the blood we're ever gonna need in stock. But because it has a shelf life, we have to have people continue to come in. It's kind of like milk. You can't just keep all the milk you're ever going to drink in your life, it's going to go bad and then you just have to make sure it's going out and we have more people coming in.”
He continues, “With the holidays coming up, the need for blood doesn't take a holiday. We're going to need people to keep coming out and making donations because people are still going to be getting sick. Surgeries a leukemia patient could use up to 8 units a week for one week of their treatment. So, eight different people need to donate for one leukemia treatment.”
“So yeah, and the way I see it, it's about an hour of your time by the time you walk in the donor centre and walk out, I feel like that's a huge return in your investment for giving an hour of your time. The needle is in your arm for about 10-15 minutes, and you get juice and cookies after and you're making a life-saving difference for Canadian patients. I think that's a huge return on your investment.”
Lawrence explains a new challenge for 2023 called give 3 in 2023. “So make an additional blood donation next year. Visit 3in2023.blood.ca. Make 3 commitments of how they're going to support Canada’s lifeline. Donate blood, join a stem cell registry or by registering your intent to donate organs and tissues as well as a variety of other situations.”