The average human body has approximately 5 litres of blood– and giving up only 450 millilitres of it can potentially save a life.
The Canadian Blood Services is a government funded non-for-profit organization that manages the country’s blood supply. The organization, which works closely with Canada’s health care system, works to match the right blood type with the patient who needs it most. Patients in need of heart surgery require about 5 donations of blood, while car crash victims can need up to 50 donations to survive.
How do I become a donor?
Selena Landry is the event coordinator for Canadian Blood Services in London and surrounding areas. She says becoming a blood donor involves four simple steps, which take less than an hour.
The first step is walking in to your nearest Canadian Blood Services clinic and asking to sign up as a donor. Next, you’ll move on to the tablet station where you will fill out a quick questionnaire based on different questions that determine your eligibility to donate. Patients must be 17 or older, weigh more than 110 pounds, and feel well.
Once you’ve answered those questions, a nurse will check your hemoglobin levels (A protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body), temperature, and blood pressure. This is when you will find out if you are eligible to move to the donations area.
The event coordinator says the actual blood donation process only takes about 5 to 7 minutes. After you’ve finished giving your blood, you get access to the refreshments room with cookies and other treats.
Ben Hutchinson is a regular donor at London’s Canadian Blood Services clinic on Wharncliffe road. The 23-year old college student says he has been consistently donating his blood for the past few years. He says it’s so easy for him to do but makes a big difference for hospital patients clinging on to life.
Landry says the Canadian Blood Services could not run without the daily contributions of donors who make blood transfusions possible for patients.