Donating blood especially crucial during long weekends

Rebekah Dooley’s two-year-old daughter Isabella has been in and out of BC Children’s Hospital as she battles neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer.

“It’s been very hard, but she’s been amazing through this whole process,” said Dooley as she was in the process of giving blood Friday afternoon.

“I’m just blown away at how well she’s reacted. But it’s definitely been hard.”

After seeing Isabella receive over 15 blood transfusions during her treatment, she was inspired to give blood herself.

“It seemed like a good way to give back,” she said. “It really does make a huge difference. Not just for my daughter, but for other kids as well.”

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READ MORE: 5 things to know about donating blood

Canadian Blood Services especially appreciated Dooley’s donation because it came during a long weekend.

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“Our regular donor base often has a different schedule. They’re not coming in as regularly as they would over the long weekend,” said Trudi Goels with the Canadian Blood Services. She says there’s around 300 empty appointments in B.C. alone this weekend – a 20 per reduction from typical levels.

“Hospitals never close, treatment never stops, so we need to be here to treat the patients,” she said.

It has the greatest impact when it comes to platelets, which are critical for people undergoing chemotherapy.

“Platelets only last five days. Coming in during the long weekend is really important to ensure we always get platelets out to our patients,” said Goels.

While one in two Canadians are eligible to donate, only one in sixty do.

“The screening and the questionnaire takes more time than actually giving blood,” said Dooley.

“It takes 5-10 minutes, it’s not that hard. Just do it.”

– With files from Elaine Yong

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