Attention, blood donors – tomorrow (Wed., Jan. 15) is the last day for donation in Sault Ste. Marie, as Canadian Blood Services closes its’ Sudbury whole blood centre – and discontinues any mobile blood donation events in surrounding Northern Ontario communities – in preparation to open of a proof-of-concept plasma donation centre in summer 2020.
“While we understand this is a change for the generous blood donors in communities in Northern Ontario, we are taking steps to increase the amount of plasma collected in Canada to meet rising patient demand,” Canadian Blood Services said in an email to SaultOnline.
Plasma donation is largely the same as blood donation, and can be done in two ways:
recovered plasma: where plasma is separated after a whole blood donation
apheresis: where the plasma is separated during donation so that red and white blood cells, as well as the platelets, can be put back
Plasma is used for blood transfusions, and some of it goes to manufacturers for processing into life-saving drugs used to treat patients in Canada who suffer from a variety of rare, life-threatening, chronic and genetic conditions.
“We really appreciate everybody’s support over the last several plus years, and we encourage people to save lives in whichever way they can moving forward,” Jenny Fortin, Territory Manager at Canadian Blood Services, told SaultOnline in a phone interview, “whether that be joining the organ and tissue donation registry or we do have donor centres in almost every major city across Canada, so just think of us when they’re doing some travel plans.”
Fortin said anyone still wanting to donate whole blood can do so by going to Barrie or keeping an eye out for when the Barrie team goes to Parry Sound.
“We do have a fairly dedicated donor base in Sault Ste. Marie so we often make (our goal of 120 units per visit), but I also encourage people – if they’re really adamant about supporting the lifeline – there are other way to support Canada’s lifeline other than donating whole blood,” Fortin explained.
“You can sign up as a stem cell registry online, you can go online and be an organ and tissue donor as well, or you can (call) the Red Cross in the United States and see if they’re in Sault, Michigan; that might be another alternative.”
She also said Canadian Blood Services ensures that there’s a consistent supply of blood available for patients in need all over the country, and that the lack of a donation centre won’t change that.
“This will by no means mean a shortage of blood to Northern Ontarians,” she ensured.
Anyone interested in donating can book an appointment at blood.ca. Local donation takes place at The Machine Shop.
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