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Donors needed

Blood. It’s in you to give.

Although this statement is used in advertising by Canadian Blood Services, it goes far beyond words in a newspaper or on a billboard.

We all have a gift pumping through our veins, a gift that can be used to help others and potentially save a life.

Unfortunately, a shockingly minuscule amount of Canadians donate blood, a mere four per cent, according to Canadian Blood Service’s latest count.

What makes this even more difficult to fathom is the fact that more than half of Canadians will require blood in their lifetime or know someone who does.

For those who do take the time to roll up their sleeves and donate, they could be helping their co-worker, neighbour or even a loved one.

To make matters worse, the recent rash of unfavourable weather has caused a number of potential donors to cancel their appointments.

Andra Stancu, the local territory manager for Canadian Blood Services, says more than 50 appointments were cancelled in Oshawa and area over the past few weeks.

Stancu says this has created a “desperate” situation and more than 250 donors are needed in just the next week to meet required levels.

Each one of those cancelled donations represents one unit of blood.

“That’s enough to treat someone who has been in a car crash,” Stancu explains. “It can have more long-term effects for five patients who are undergoing cancer treatments.”

While it is understandable that winter weather can affect plans, considering some of the things many of us will brave the cold, snow and ice to do, such as going to the store to buy lottery tickets or cigarettes, or driving to the mall for Boxing Day sales, it becomes more an excuse than anything.

Oshawa residents have the added convenience of a clinic in the city that is open six days a week, so even if someone has to miss an appointment, there are plenty of opportunities to make it up.

Weather conditions aside, the root of the problem is the lackadaisical mindset we have as a country towards donating blood.

There is no lack of advertising or awareness of the need, it is simply something not enough Canadians do.

So the next time you see or hear an advertisement for a donor clinic, recognize it could be you or someone you love who needs the gift that is in all of us to give.

To book an appointment, locate a clinic, check eligibility to donate and more, use the Give Blood App or visit blood.ca.