June 14, 2015 marks World Blood Donor Day, an initiative of the World Health Organization. This year the focus is on thanking blood donors who save lives every day through their blood donations and to strongly encourages more people all over the world to donate blood voluntarily and regularly with the slogan “Give freely, give often. Blood donation matters.”
The event serves to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood and to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need.
Transfusion of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life, and supports complex medical and surgical procedures. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during man-made and natural disasters.
Want to become a donor?
Canadian Blood Services handles all blood donations in Canada. Becoming a donor is easy and giving blood is too. It’s in you to give!
- Find out if you’re eligible to donate. Not sure? Give them a call at 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
- Find a clinic near you.
- Book an appointment. Booking in advance helps the clinics run smoothly and also helps them ensure your first donation experience is a good one.
- All donors are required to register with Canadian Blood Services by providing proof of identity with your full name and signature such as a donor card or full name and photograph such as a valid driver’s license.
- Screening ensures both your safety when giving blood, and also protects patients from transmissible disease. It involves physical tests and answering questions on general health, travel history and high-risk activities, consistent with the guidelines of Health Canada’s Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate.
- When you are taken into the donation area, they will swab your arm with a disinfecting agent to ensure the needle site is sterile, always using a new, sterile needle for every donation and safely disposing of used needles.
- When they draw your blood, they keep a portion for testing, and collect about 450 ml for transfusion. While your blood is being drawn, staff monitors you and your progress to make sure you continue to feel well and there are no concerns.
- After the needle is removed, they apply sterile gauze to cover the puncture site.
- Once you have finished donating blood, the clinic staff will ensure you are feeling alright. There’s a short recovery time, about 5 minutes, during which they monitor you to make sure you have no adverse reaction to donating. Then you get cookies and beverages to boost your blood sugar level.
Your Donation Can Touch So Many Lives
What greater gift is there than the gift of life? That’s exactly what every blood donation delivers. Blood and blood products are a critical part of everyday medical care including major surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatments and managing disease. Consider this: a victim of a car accident will use as many as 50 units of blood, in other words, they may require up to 50 donors! Whose life will you save today?