Canadian Blood Services needs you

Canadian Blood Services (CBS) will be visiting SAIT campus in an effort to recruit much needed blood donors.

“Students are our new donors and they are critical to meeting Canada’s future blood needs. Giving blood is one of the most direct ways you can help someone and it’s making a meaningful difference in your community,” said Lisa Castro, Calgary Territory Manager for CBS.

The next clinic will be taking place on Wednesday, Jan. 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Irene Lewis Atrium in the Stan Grad Building. CBS typically visits the campus four times a year during the fall and winter semesters.

The blood drive has 153 appointment spots available. It is recommended to book a slot in advance. Government issued picture ID’s are needed for identification when donating.

“The demand for blood is constant,” said Castro, adding that donations help those in need. Donations are transfused to patients that require surgery, car crash victims, cancer patients and more.

This year CBS is looking for 105,000 new blood donors. One in two Canadians are able to donate, but only one in six do.

“New donors are critical. One out of every two Canadians will need blood or will know someone who needs blood at some point in their lives,” said Castro.

People are able to donate approximately 450 ml of blood, a little less than two cups, every 84 days. When one donates they are able to provide plasma, platelets and red blood cells. All donations are used within one week of being donated.

Castro recommends preparing for donations three to four days in advanced. This includes drinking two to three litres of water and eating iron rich foods. Most importantly one should have a large breakfast the day of the donation and avoid caffeine and other diuretics.

“Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood, often from more than one generous donor. Demand for blood never stops,” said Castro, explaining how patients rely on donations for their health.

There can be some barriers to donating blood, so Castro recommends visiting the CBS website to take a two-minute eligibility quiz. For those who have recently had tattoos or piercings they are required to wait six months before donating blood.

If one has spent time in Zika or Malaria zones they may be required to wait one to three years. There is a travel section on the CBS website for those looking to see if they have been is these travel zones.

CBS has introduced the new Give Blood app in an effort to make donating even easier.

“[The GiveBlood app] is easy and convenient. It’s digital so you don’t have to have a donor card. It tells you when you can donate blood, how many times you’ve donated, your blood type, what your favorite clinic is and helps keep track of your appointments,” said Jennifer Hall, a SAIT continuing education student.

Hall has donated blood more than 25 times, and has also registered as a bone marrow donor.

“You have it [blood] and people need it, so why not donate? If you’re able to, you can help save a life,” said Hall.

Appointments to donate blood can be booked online at, on the app or by calling 1-888-2-DONATE.

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