February 1, 2016 4:17 pm

Canadian Blood Services puts out plea for O- donors

People donate blood in Edmonton Monday, Feb. 1, 2016.

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EDMONTON — While the need for blood is constant, Canadian Blood Services is asking donors with type O- to step up and help.

Robyn Westbrook, territory manager with Canadian Blood Services, said there is not a shortage of O- blood in the banks, but they’re putting out the call to rebuild their stock.

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“We use O negative blood for so many more reasons than just people who have O negative blood; any time that time is of the essence and we’re not able to test the blood, brand new babies, and then of course for the O negative donors as well,” Westbrook said from the Edmonton clinic Monday.

READ MORE: Canadian Blood Services to defer donations from travellers to Zika-endemic areas

The process of donating blood takes about one hour. Once you register and have your iron level tested, donors answer a few questions before blood is drawn. The physical donation only takes between five and 10 minutes.

One donation equals one unit of blood. Blood and blood products are a critical part of everyday medical care, including surgeries, cancer treatments and other medical procedures. For example, a person going through leukemia treatment can need upwards of eight units of blood per week.

“Every time someone is in a car accident we could use up to 50 units of blood for just one vehicle accident,” Westbrook said. “We really are using this blood and needing it constantly.”

READ MORE: 5 things to know about donating blood 

While walk-ins are welcome, anyone who wishes to donate blood is encouraged to book an appointment online or call 1-888-2-donate. You can also download the GiveBlood app for iPhone or Android.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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