Woolwich Mayor Sandy Shantz and members of council partnered with Canadian Blood Services for a blood type testing clinic on Monday, an event they hope will raise awareness ahead of the Elmira blood donor clinic on June 30.
The pre-clinic at the township’s administrative office focused on informing people what blood type they are, while sharing information on CBS and what is involved when donating blood.
CBS manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all provinces and territories, excluding Quebec. The organization approached the township about holding the clinic.
“We generally try to run events twice a week. Whether that is in high schools or local business or local government institutions like this, we generally do them geared towards our upcoming clinics like the one coming up in Elmira,” explained Kerstin Dupuis, event coordinator for the Canadian Blood Services.
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Dupius has been a donor since she was 17, joining on as event coordinator just over a year and a half ago. She says that pre clinic events like this are so important because there are currently few ways to find out what blood type you are.
“Most people generally don’t know their blood type because it is not something that you’re told even on your birth certificate,” she said, noting that if you are curious to know your blood type there is a cost to have the test done through your family doctor.
“So most people don’t know their blood type unless they have been in a medical situation where they find out their type.”
The township and the agency are hoping that their partnership ahead of the upcoming event will shine a light on the steady need for blood donors. The not-for-profit charitable organization says they need 100,000 new donors every year to meet current demand in Canada.
Shantz will be attending the donor clinic at the end of June, saying she encourages people to step forward and donate blood after seeing first-hand the impact CBS has had.
“I have had a number of family members who have had cancer. My dad has had a number of transfusions over his lifetime through cancer,” she said. “It is just a way to give back to the community and help people out because you never know.”
There is an especially high demand for donors leading into long weekends, with CBS noting that it can take up to 50 units of blood to save someone who has been in a car crash.
“We hope there aren’t accidents, but the reality is that it happens,” she commented.
The mayor along with members of council have pledged to recruit new donors to fill appointments with the goal of collect a total of 115 blood donations at the clinic at month’s end.
Currently only four per cent of Canadians donate, yet according to the agency half of the entire population will either need blood or know someone who will need blood at some point in their lives.
The donor clinic will be taking place on the Friday before the long weekend, June 30 at Lions Hall in Elmira from 2-8 p.m.