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Lack of rural donation sites questioned after urgent call for blood donors

Canadian Blood Services is looking for donors before Labour Day. mike postovit/corus entertainment

After the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) put out a plea for more blood donations Monday, would-be donors in rural Manitoba say they can’t give the gift of life because the province’s only blood donation site is in Winnipeg.

CBS said they are in urgent need of blood ahead of the Labour Day long weekend and encouraged donors to go online to find the nearest clinic.

READ MORE: Canada needs 22,000 people to donate blood by August 26

Depending on where you live, there may indeed be no clinics available at which to donate in time to meet the current need.

The ‘locator’ feature on the CBS website shows no available clinics for some rural donors. Canadian Blood Services website

Wenda Anderson said she was a regular donor, giving blood four times a year, for nearly 40 years in her hometown of Killarney, Man.

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But Brandon’s permanent blood services site closed last June, and the mobile sites serving Killarney, Dauphin, Neepawa, Minnedosa, Virden, Souris, Hamiota, Boissevain, Erickson and Melita were cancelled.

All that’s left is a mobile clinic in Brandon, twice a month.

“Unless you’re going there for another reason as well, it’s not something a lot of people can afford to do, especially with gas prices,” Anderson told Global News on Tuesday.

“It was just so handy when you can go right into your community and do it,” she said, adding that others, who were ‘shut out’ in rural Manitoba, are no longer able to give blood either.

“We make up a large number of the population too.”

WATCH: Canadian Blood Services urgently needs blood donors

Click to play video: 'Canadian Blood Services urgently needs blood donors'
Canadian Blood Services urgently needs blood donors

The organization, however, said downsizing was a cost-effective way to collect roughly the same amount of blood.

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CBS spokesperson Tracy Smith said residents without a nearby site should try to plan doctors appointments or out of town shopping sprees around mobile clinic times.

“If they just donated that once a year or twice a year that they came into another area, it would be more than enough donors for us to meet our hospital demand,” Smith said.

CBS said more than 22,000 blood donors are urgently needed across Canada by the end of the month. In Manitoba, more than 1,000 appointments need to be filled.

In Winnipeg, donations can be made at the CBS site at 777 William Ave.

The next clinic in Brandon will be at the Keystone Centre Aug. 23.

Information about nearby clinics and schedules can be found here.

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