July 1, 2014 6:45 pm

Canada’s blood inventory at a five year low

The National blood inventory is the lowest it’s been in five years, according to Canadian Blood Services. That is one of the reasons Warran Grin was rolling up his sleeves on Canada Day.

“It’s patriotic. If you’re Canadian you give,” said Grin.

For the first year, Canadian Blood Services is opening clinics on statutory holidays. A call to donate on social media named #bloodsignal is urging Canadians to donate. Especially because summer numbers can be low.

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“In the summer, our regular donors are on holidays. It’s not top of mind for a lot of people,” said Beth Frise, spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services.

Frise said the organization is able to meet hospital demand but inventory numbers are still concerning, especially when cancellations occur.

“We’ve seen about a 20% no-show rate,” said Frise. “People who have appointments just aren’t showing up.”

Every time you donate, that is one unit of blood. To put things in perspective, a car crash victim goes through an average of 50 units of blood, someone with leukaemia will need eight units a week and the average cancer patient needs five units during treatment.

Skip McWatters is a local volunteer with CBS. He said he has donated blood on hundreds of occasions.

“Only 1.8 per cent of eligible people in Toronto donate blood,” said McWatters. “So we actually have to import 50-thousand units of blood from our national pool.”

On Canada Day, Canadian Blood Services had to cancel one of its Toronto clinics due to a shortage in donors. But the Ukrainian community came through, organizing a blood drive to give back to Canada and bring more awareness to the struggles facing the Ukraine population.

“We’re donating blood to honour the fallen,” said Zakhar Lopatnyuk, co-organizer of the Ukrainian blood drive. “And this is to thank Canada for all the Canadian people and all the government has done to help Ukraine.”

“(For) today’s clinic, our goal is 43 units. So a whole clinic can go to one patient.” Says Frise.

The organization surpassed that goal and long-time donor McWatters said you can’t get more Canadian than that.

“We were only expecting 17 donors max. This first hour we had 35 people show up- it’s tremendous,” he said.

Every week, Canadian Blood Services needs 30-thousand appointments just to meet the demand.

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