Local demand for blood not met

Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

With the harsh weather conditions that the Region of Waterloo experienced last week, Canadian Blood Services also experienced issues with donations.

According to Tara Gutscher, the community development coordinator at K-W Blood Donor Clinic and Canadian Blood Services, the K-W Blood Donor Clinic was short about 40 units of blood in donations during the harsh weather.

“I think the weather was the only factor in this because usually when our clinics are well-booked, people do attend because they know the importance of keeping their appointments,” Gutscher said. “I think it was more important [last week] – which is right – to stay safe and not come out and donate that day.”

Gutscher said that around the Region of Waterloo, which includes the outer cities and towns, up to almost 100 units could have been lost in donations because of the unsafe weather conditions. However, the clinics stayed open.

“Some of them were made smaller if our staff couldn’t make it out because it was unsafe for them, but we were able to keep them all open. The closest one to us that was closed was Wellesley.”

With the weather warming up, Gutscher also mentioned that the K-W Blood Donor Clinic and surrounding clinics have been putting in extra effort to make up for the units of blood missed in the last week.

“Today, I have four corporate groups coming in to the K-W Blood Donor Clinic and tomorrow there are two,” she said. “Just between the corporate groups today, they’re are going to be donating about 40 units of blood and here … we’re helping collect 96 units of blood today.”

Gutscher said it could take the entire month to return to the original level of donations blood clinics were receiving. Clinics will be trying to surpass their goals by about two to five units of blood to one donation to make up the shortfall.Jessie Masur, a third year business student at Wilfrid Laurier University, is a frequent blood donor and is involved heavily with blood donor clinics at Laurier as well as K-W. She mentioned that at WLU, a blood donor clinic is on campus with the help of Laurier Against Childhood Cancer (LACC) that could help the deficit.

“We are now running the blood drive, where having LACC on my side has helped me out,” she said.

Masur believes that the clinics on campuses will help with the deficit in blood in the Region. However, an increase in blood donations is needed.

“I don’t think people recognize the need for blood and it’s something where people say, ‘I should do that, I should do that,’ but a bunch of people don’t make the move to do it,” she said. “I think by running these blood drives it’ll give people an opportunity to sign up in an easy fashion so they don’t have to do things themselves, which makes them actually donate.”

The K-W Blood Donor Clinic will be holding a blood drive in March.

“The need is ongoing. Especially with the weather that we’ve had, there’s a constant need,” Gutscher said.  “So whenever there’s a clinic at schools and people can make an appointment and come out, it’s really appreciated.”

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