Most people, if they’re lucky, will never have to experience just how important it is to receive blood. But for one local man, National Blood Donor Week is a reminder of just how vital the service really is in helping save lives across the country.
“I saw that all the kids that really needed it when I was in hospital with my daughter,” said Joe Michielsen, “and since then I’ve realized the importance that everybody needs it.”
After watching his daughter battle cancer and rely heavily on blood donations for years, Michielsen is joining Canadian Blood Services (CBS) during National Blood Donor Week in issuing a plea to the public.
“We need people to donate blood every day,” said Belinda Tomiyama, territory manager with CBS. “We know that people are busy over the summer months and I get that, but there are patients in the hospital right now that really need blood.”
CBS officials went on to say that 52 per cent of Canadians will need blood within their lifetimes, but only 4 per cent actually donate.
“It’s such an easy thing to do,” added Michielsen. “Give an hour of your time every couple of months and that’s it, there’s really nothing to it.”
Although this national week helps to create awareness surrounding blood donations in the country, shortages tend to exist throughout the entire year.
“In May we didn’t have enough people stepping forward in Lethbridge to donate blood, and we were 51 units short of what we needed to collect,” said Tomiyama. “We see shortages a lot.”
CBS also advises anyone who cannot give blood to nonetheless help spread the word of the necessity of the service, and that financial donations are always accepted.