CBS in desperate need of blood donors during summer months

The third annual In Memory of Penny Lett blood drive is back to help Canadian Blood Services collect much-needed blood during the summer.

Arleen Asi with Canadian Blood Services chats with donor Charlene Harwood during the June 8 clinic at Broadway Church. That day marked the start of National Blood Donor Week

Arleen Asi with Canadian Blood Services chats with donor Charlene Harwood during the June 8 clinic at Broadway Church. That day marked the start of National Blood Donor Week

It’s that time of year again.

The third annual In Memory of Penny Lett blood drive takes place throughout the months of July and August in Chilliwack.

But those two summer months are some of the most difficult months to collect blood as people are on vacation, and away from home travelling with their families.

Additionally, due to the higher volume of traffic on the roads during those busy summer months, there is a rise in injuries from vehicle collisions which increases the need for donated blood.

It can take up to 50 donors to help save the life of one car crash victim. It takes up to five donors to help a cancer or heart surgery patient, and eight donors per week for someone battling leukemia.

Canadian Blood Services is already concerned about low donor numbers this summer following a clinic earlier this month.

On June 8 —ironically also the first day of National Blood Donor Week — there were 60 no-shows at the Chilliwack clinic. That means one-third of the blood CBS had hoped to collect was never collected.

The Penny Lett blood drive is hoping to change that.

Having collected more than 700 units of blood last year, the blood drive is the second largest in B.C.

Sikh Nation B.C. is the only blood drive larger than In Memory of Penny Lett.

The local blood drive began in 2013 following the passing of former Progress reporter and avid blood donor, Penny Lett, who donated 125 times.

That inaugural year, the goal was to collect 125 units of blood to match Penny’s donations. A whopping 420 units were collected. In 2014, the goal was 600 units, and 722 units of blood were collected.

This year, the bar has been raised yet again with a goal of collecting 750 units of blood.

During the seven summer blood donor clinics in Chilliwack, CBS is still in need of 628 donors to book appointments and, more importantly, to attend those appointments.

Only 47 per cent of the summer appointments have been filled so far.

The upcoming In Memory of Penny Lett blood clinic dates are: July 6, Aug. 3 and 31 at Broadway Church (46611 Maple Ave.), and July 10, 20, Aug. 17 and Sept. 4 at Neighbourhood Learning Centre (46361 Yale Rd.). The Monday clinics run from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the Friday clinics run from noon to 6 p.m.

At each of those clinics, you can sign up to be part of ‘Team Penny’ and have your donation count towards the 750-unit goal. There will be In Memory of Penny Lett forms at all of the summer clinics, or you can sign up beforehand at www.blood.ca/en/blood/partners-life; click ‘team up’ under the member section and use the partner ID number INME013882.

For more info, including appointment bookings and donor eligibility, call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283), or go to blood.ca.

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