This is Part 2 in a series about donating blood and Canadian Blood Services. Read Part 1 here.
There’s a new team in town.
It’s not a sports team. It’s not a chess team. It’s not a debating team. It’s a blood drive team.
The Blood Drive In Memory of Penny Lett is the newest group in Chilliwack to join Canadian Blood Services’ Partners For Life (PFL) program.
“Partners For Life is a program that gives organizations an opportunity in their community to save lives through blood donations,” says Nancy Bryan, PFL partnership specialist for B.C. region.
When a PFL group is formed, they pledge to donate a certain number of units of blood per year and they work together as a team to reach that goal.
“If one person can save a life, imagine what an organization can do by rallying together?” says Kathy BroadScott, PFL regional partnership specialist for B.C. region.
The national program started in 2005 as a way to increase the number of blood donations and to find new donors.
And it worked.
In 2012, the PFL program brought in 20,000 new donors across Canada. Those new donors helped contribute to the 213,000 donations collected in 2012 through the program.
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) has corporate, community, school, government and faith-based groups signed up with the PFL program. There are more than 4,000 PFL groups in the country, and of those, about 750 of them are located in B.C.
In 2012, the B.C. PFL members donated 28,000 times and brought in 2,300 new donors.
“There are a couple of reasons that the program was started,” says BroadScott. “It’s a great employee engagement program, people work together towards their organization’s annual lifesaving goal, and its a unique way for corporate partners to achieve their corporate social engagement and/or responsibility goals.”
The newly formed group here in Chilliwack is simply known as the Penny Team.
Lett, a former reporter at The Chilliwack Progress, was an avid blood donor and gave a total of 125 units of blood before she passed away earlier this year in March. It is because of her dedication to CBS that the Penny Team was formed this year. The team’s goal is to donate 125 units of blood for the 2013 calendar year.
The official Blood Drive In Memory of Penny Lett kicks off on Monday, July 8 and runs for five clinics throughout July and August. July 8 also marks the start of the new home for donating blood with CBS, at Broadway Church.
There will be a special pin dedication ceremony at 5 p.m. on Monday at the church where CBS will be giving Lett’s husband, Brian Snook, a 125th donation pin in honour of Lett and her 125 blood donations.
Those wanting to register to be part of the Penny Team can do so online at www.blood.ca/partnersforlife. The Partner ID number for the Penny Team is INME013882. You can also register for PFL when you donate blood at any of the five ‘Penny’ blood drive clinics, which take place at Broadway Church on Mondays (July 8, 22, Aug. 5 and 19) from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. Anyone in Canada (excluding Quebec) can join the Penny Team, and their donations are retroactive for the 2013 year.
By registering for PFL and/or by bringing in a donation of canned or dry cat food when you donate during the five clinics in July and August in Chilliwack, you will receive a coupon for an ornamental grass courtesy of Minter Country Garden. All cat food donations will be given to Chilliwack Animal Safe Haven.
The July 8 clinic is already fully booked, but there’s still room for more donors at the other four clinics. Call 1-888-2DONATE to make an appointment. Blood donors can also call the day before (July 7), or the day of to see if there have been any cancelations for the July 8 clinic. CBS is specifically looking for people to donate blood on Monday, Aug. 5 as it is the long weekend.
Whether new or regular donors, CBS’s message is always the same — they always need more blood and more donors.
“New donors are an important target. As our loyal donor base ages and stop donating, they may also become users of the blood system. That’s why its important that we increase our new, young loyal donor base,” says BroadScott.
Facts and tips on donating blood:• to make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-888-2-DONATE• you must be at least 17 years of age, and healthy, to donate• you must weight at least 110 lbs.• underage teens (17 and 18) do not need their parents’ permission to donate• special medical assessment conditions apply to those over the age of 70, and those 61 and older who are donating for the first time• one unit of whole blood (red cells, platelets, and plasma) is taken during a blood donation, and is equal to about 450ml• adults have about 10-12 units of blood in their body, that’s five to six litres• every minute, on average, a person in Canada needs blood• 50 percent of Canadians are eligible to donate blood; only four percent of those eligible actually donate• 52 per cent of Canadians say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood products, or know someone who has• before donating, people should drink plenty of water, and avoid coffee and tea — caffeine can shrink veins, therefore making it difficult and/or uncomfortable to donate blood• after donating, people should rest for about 6-8 hours and avoid strenuous activities• people should not donate during their lunch break, as there simply isn’t enough time• you must wait to donate if: you have been to the dentist recently; have a cold or flu; had a tattoo or body piercing within the past six months
Related story:Part 1 • June 11 – The time to donate blood is now
Related column:June 11 – Blood drive honours Penny Lett