Number of regular blood donors lowest in a decade: Canadian Blood Services

The number of Canadians who regularly give blood is at its lowest point in a decade – low enough to stall Canadian Blood Services’ efforts to refill the critically low national blood inventory.

Three to four times a year Rudy Niebuhr and Maureen Klippenstein give blood.

“I think I’ve done about 90 donations in my life,” said Niebuhr.

“We know all sorts of people who have benefited from or have needed blood. It’s something easy for us to be able to do to contribute,” Klippenstein told CTV News.

Wybo Vanderschuit started donating blood as a teenager and on Monday he hit donation number 74.

“I know how important it is to have a blood supply available,” Vanderschuit said. “There’s surgeries going on all the time and actually a friend of mine is in Health Sciences Center right now after a car accident.”

He doesn’t come as often anymore because his doctor advised him to slow down. Still, I have kept his appointments from him throughout the pandemic.

It is dedicated blood donors like Niebuhr, Klippenstein and Vanderschuit who keep the national supply flowing, but they are part of a small group that is dwindling in numbers.

“We currently have the smallest donor base we’ve seen in a decade and this is largely due to the pandemic,” said Mike Choi, associate director for donor relations and collections at Canadian Blood Services.

Choi said during the pandemic Canadian Blood Services lost around 31,000 regular blood donors. He said the decline is because of illness, isolation requirements and not being able to recruit new donors at community events.

“This drop in donors is significant. That’s why we’re asking folks across the country to help us recover,” he said. “At this moment there is no impact on our ability to meet patient need but we do need to reverse the trend we’re seeing as soon as possible to ensure that this remains the case.”

In Manitoba, Canadian Blood Services looks to collect 1,000 units of blood each week to meet the demand for blood in the province.

Countrywide 100,000 new regular blood donors are needed, including 3,000 in Manitoba.

Those looking to book an appointment to donate blood can find more details online.

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