On Friday, November 18, students flocked to the Ian D. Beddis gym for an important cause – making a difference through blood donation. Canadian Blood Services, an organization founded on the premise of creating awareness and providing a resource for the need for whole blood and bone marrow donation, made their way to Brock to set up a clinic in the Walker Complex. Students could book appointments or participate in blood donation by simply walking in and registering. This event takes place twice a semester at Brock, with donations always being accepted year-round at the St. Catharines blood donor clinic location on Ontario Street.
Canadian Blood Services was founded in 1998, taking recommendations from the Krever Inquiry, an investigation into the collection, handling and storage of blood donation in Canada after several cases of infectious life-threatening illness surfaced from the result of contaminated blood. From the 1940s to when the investigation was launched, blood donation services had been almost completely run by the Canadian Red Cross Society and by private collection institutions.
After thousands of cases were discovered in the 1970s of Canadians infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the precursor to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and Hepatitis C, Mr. Justice Horace Krever called for an investigation into the blood service network in Canada. The recommendations of the Krever Inquiry resulted in the creation of Héma-Québec and Canadian Blood Services to serve as publicly-accessible blood collection and distribution organizations, streamlining the process for donations to be used as soon and as frequently as necessary.
The blood donation clinic in Walker Complex is not the only service that has been offered by Canadian Blood Services this year on campus. During the first two weeks of November, Canadian Blood Services set up pop-up tables in Mackenzie Chown A Block featuring equipment necessary to complete blood typing. Students and faculty were able to participate in a short, easy and relatively quick finger prick test to determine their blood type if not already known. Students and faculty were also given the opportunity to learn more about Canadian Blood Services, find out about regular blood donation clinics in the area (including the once-a-semester Brock campus clinic) and register for OneMatch, a program through Canadian Blood Services that matches healthy and compatible bone marrow and live tissue donors to patients in need
The numbers on blood donation and the need for readily available blood resources in Canada are staggering. In 2014, blood donations were declared to be at a five-year low, as endorsed by Dr. Samir Gupta, medical correspondent for Global News. Patients are in need of blood on a regular basis, with most cases requiring multiple blood donors to assist in treatment. According to Blood.ca (the official website for Canadian Blood Services), up to fifty donors could be needed to save someone involved in a vehicular crash, and up to eight donors can be needed on a weekly basis to assist in therapeutic treatment for a patient battling blood-originating illnesses such as leukemia. Additionally, 52 per cent of Canadians say they or a family member has needed blood or blood products for medical or surgical treatment.
For organ and tissue donation, live donors can prove to be lifesaving for patients undergoing treatment for organ failure. Live donor matches are made on a regular basis through Canadian Blood Service’s OneMatch, and interested donors are accepted through hospitals nationwide. In 2014, over 4,500 patients were waiting for a needed organ replacement, and 278 of those patients passed away while on the transplant list.
Canadian Blood services will host another clinic on Jan. 20,2017.
For more information on Canadian Blood Services and how you can either donate or get involved as a volunteer for either blood donation or live tissue and organ donation, please visit Blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) You can also book an appointment through the GiveBlood App, available for iOS and Android.