EDITORIAL: Blood donation a gift, but more so in summer

Canadian Blood Services calling for donors during traditionally quieter vacation season

When it comes to promoting ideas and campaigns, we generally steer clear of focusing on a pre-designated or proclaimed day, week or month, given there are more than the calendar allows for at any one time.

But this week’s 10th anniversary of National Blood Donor Week comes with a very timely and specific message for residents in Penticton and across the country.

Donations go down in summer, with many people on vacation or simply thinking about other things. While Canadian Blood Services tells us the need for blood in general remains fairly consistent, a reduction in the supply side of that equation causes a ripple effect down the line.

Let’s say a devastating human emergency such as the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, or the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster were to happen in summer. A depleted CBS national supply level is less able to provide the necessary blood and plasma to deal with that need, given its ongoing commitment to provide the large amounts of blood required to treat leukemia patients, those having organ transplant surgery or people injured in vehicle crashes.

CBS likes to point out, as do we, that a significantly large percentage of adults in this country are eligible to donate blood at any time of year. Yet the vast majority are simply not in the habit of doing so, or perhaps feel they somehow are unable to donate.

If you’re not sure, ask a local health care professional, or check out the Canada Blood Services website (www.blood.ca).

Eligible men can donate every eight weeks; women every 12 weeks. People who are not regular donors could set a goal to donate even once or twice this year, and start soon. If enough of us were to make that choice, we could collectively make a major dent in the shortages faced by the countless hospitals and other surgical facilities supplied by CBS in summer and throughout the year.

As the tagline goes, “Blood: It’s in you to give.”

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