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Need for blood increases during busy summer months

Nancy Bryan (right), Fraser Valley territory manager with Canadian Blood Services, hands out
Nancy Bryan (right), Fraser Valley territory manager with Canadian Blood Services, hands out 'Team Penny' buttons while informing staff and volunteers at the July 7 clinic about the In Memory of Penny Lett Blood Drive at Broadway Church. That day kicked off the 2014 blood drive which runs until Sept. 1.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

The hot summer months are now well underway. People are taking weeks of vacation, families and friends are visiting from out of town, and beach goers want to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Because many Canadians have busy, vacation-filled summers, some things get pushed off to the side — like donating blood.

For Canadian Blood Services (CBS), the months of July and August are the hardest spots to fill with blood donation appointments, yet the need for blood is still there. In fact, the need for blood is often greater in the summer as there is an increase in traumas with crowded highways and waterways, putting an added strain on blood supplies.

Chilliwack residents can help relieve some of that pressure and save lives by making an appointment to donate blood during one of the five summer clinics: July 21, Aug. 4, 8, 18, and Sept. 1.

Two of the five clinic dates are especially hard to fill as they fall on statutory holidays. Currently, there are 52 blood donation appointments that need to be filled for the Monday, Aug. 4 clinic (B.C. Day), and 79 spots for the Monday, Sept. 1 clinic (Labour Day).

Additionally, the Friday, Aug. 8 clinic has 57 spots open, and the Monday, Aug. 18 clinic has 30 spots open.

To help boost blood donations, two groups have been formed in Chilliwack as part of CBS's Partners For Life (PFL) program. The program is a way for people to work together as a team and pledge to donate a certain number of units of blood each year.

The In Memory of Penny Lett Blood Drive was formed last year in honour of the late Chilliwack Progress reporter who donated 125 times. This year's pledge is 500 units of blood.

The province-wide Sirens For Life Blood Drive, where CBS partners with emergency personnel, now has a local connection. Chilliwack RCMP has pledged to donate 50 units of blood this year and is challenging local firefighters and emergency medical services to do the same.

Both blood drives will be taking place simultaneously during the summer clinics at Broadway Church (46611 Maple Ave.).

Those wishing to be part of the Penny Lett PFL team and help them reach their 500-unit goal can sign up online at blood.ca/partnersforlife (use ID number INME013882) or at one of the clinics.

Anyone wishing to support the RCMP with their blood donations can sign up online or at one of the clinics using the ID number ROYA439272.

They are still looking for a leader for the fire department and an EMS leader to join the RCMP's challenge. Those interested can contact Nancy Bryan, CBS Fraser Valley territory manager, at 778-228-9352 or nancy.bryan@blood.ca.

Chilliwack blood clinics take place every second Monday, and every eighth Friday.

People must be 17 years of age or older to donate and weigh a minimum of 110 lbs.

For more info, and to book a blood donor appointment, download the free 'GiveBlood' app on the App Store, visit  blood.ca, or call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283).

photo@theprogress.com
twitter.com/PhotoJennalism

 

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