Prospective local blood donors will have to wait until March as a scheduled donation clinic in New Glasgow was called off after last week’s winter storm.
Instead, people can donate on March 20 in Pictou or on March 21-22 in New Glasgow, says Canadian Blood Services, which manages donation clinics and blood supplies across the country.
“The need for blood is constant so we ask people to book an appointment for the upcoming clinics in March,” CBS spokesperson Deanna Jones told The News.
Last week’s cancellations in New Glasgow and four other Atlantic Canadian communities meant that CBS was unable to collect a scheduled 400 donations.
Peter MacDonald, CBS’s Atlantic director of donor relations, said that his organization can fall back on its national inventory to meet patient and hospital needs if winter weather prevents donations from being collected.
Even before last week’s storm, CBS warned that donations had fallen over Christmas and said they needed at least 900 donations in Nova Scotia alone, as reported by the CBC last month.
“It is important, however, that we replenish the supply as soon as possible so that we can be prepared if severe weather impacts us again. This is critical to ensure we continue to meet the needs of patients,” said MacDonald in a release Wednesday.
Adding to the urgency is the fact that blood is ‘perishable’ and always needed by patients who are severely injured or undergoing major surgeries.
Blood taken from donations forms three main parts: plasma, red cells that carry oxygen and nutrients and platelets, needed for clotting and healing. Platelets are also a vital part of leukemia and other cancer treatments.
Platelets can be stored only for a week, while red cells last six weeks. Blood plasma can be safely frozen and stored for up to a year.
As such, CBS is calling on people across Atlantic Canada to donate blood following the recent severe weather.
CBS is running other community donation clinics from Jan. 10-12 in Truro, Jan. 15-16 in Port Hawkesbury, Jan. 17-18 in Antigonish and Jan. 22-23 in Amherst.
People can also donate blood at the CBS centre in Halifax from Mondays to Saturdays. Its opening hours vary.
CBS manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells and related services for all provinces and territories except Quebec.
The organization is regulated as a biologics manufacturer by Health Canada and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health, but is also registered as a not-for-profit charitable organization.
The group operates an integrated, pan-Canadian blood service that includes an interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation.
For more information including donation locations, hours and to book an appointment, as well as to check one’s eligibility, use the Give Blood App or visit blood.ca.