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Canadian Blood Services says it can’t arrange Moosomin clinic

Keeping Lenox Safe group had hoped to arrange clinic:

January 9, 2020, 2:43 pm
Kevin Weedmark


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The Keeping Lenox Safe Committee had hoped to use funds from the recent online auction for Lenox Nosterud, who is battling Leukemia, to sponsor a blood donor clinic in Moosomin.

Lenox has undergone treatment at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital and is immune compromised as a result of the treatment.

A GoFundMe campaign for Lenox raised $28,500 for the family to help with expenses associated with treatment in Saskatoon, and an online auction raised an additional $16,000 for community supports such as hand sanitizers for the school, and funds were earmarked for a hoped-for blood donor clinic, as Lenox will need a lot of blood transfusions.

Editor Kevin Weedmark spoke with Jennifer Dareichuk, associate director of donor relations for Saskatchewan with Canadian Blood Services, about how it makes its decisions about hosting blood donor clinics outside the major centres.

Canadian Blood Services operates some blood donor clinics in rural communities. How do you determine where and when to schedule those clinics?
In our decisions around where and when we run our donor centres we look at a few different factors.

It could be based partially on hospital demand for a particular region or area.

We also look at the costs involved to bring our mobile donation centre.

We know that there are higher costs involved with going out to communities versus having donors come in to the fixed sites that we already operate so that’s a factor in the decisions as well.

We look at our schedules and when we’re going to go out to different communities or different places for a mobile collection event, we want to ensure that our schedule is very consistent because the demand for blood overall it quite consistent day over day, week over week. It doesn’t fluctuate a lot, so when we’re building our collection schedules we take a look day by day, and we’re trying to have it as consistent as possible day over day, week over week taking that approach. That is a big part of how we build our plan, and we build them far in advance so as in general the locations that we currently have that we’re visiting meet those needs for us in terms of having that consistency in a schedule and that predictability that we’re looking for. So we don’t go out and do one-off mobile collection events in our area.

There used to be regular blood donor clinics in our area up until a few years ago. Do you know why that changed?
Not specifically. I can’t really speak to specifics beyond what I’ve already mentioned. We would have looked at some of those communities that we’re visiting. We need to ensure that we look partially at the distance from where our collection teams are coming from—that is sometimes a factor in it. Overall, our organization nationally, we’ve been trying to really focus on the donation centres that we lease or we own. We’re trying to drive our donors to those collection centres as much as possible and we’re trying to slowly minimize the mobile collections centres.

Would Canadian Blood Services ever consider adjusting the schedule to accommodate a request like this one?
No we don’t. We wouldn’t be coming out. We appreciate that you have a local recipient and it’s wonderful that the community is rallying around Lenox and doing all these wonderful things for him. That is amazing. Absolutely amazing.

What could local people do if they wanted to help, or show their support?
For people that might be going to a centre, we do operation collection centres in Brandon, Yorkton, Regina and Saskatoon, so depending where people might be travelling for appointments or for whatever personal activities, we encourage them to make a blood donation a part of that trip if they are going to those communities. They can book ahead at blood.ca or find when the next donation opportunity is. That is all online for them.

The other thing we would encourage people if they are not able to do that—Saskatchewan is a small province, we know people in other communities, so they can advocate for blood donations if they know someone who is living a community that does have a donation centre. We really encourage people having those conversations.

Most people say blood donation is great, but when asked why people don’t donate, it’s because they haven’t been asked or they might not have that personal connection.

You guys have a really great example of the unfortunate circumstance in your community. You’re seeing the need. If people can share that with their friends and family in other communities, and encourage them to go down to our donation centres that exist we appreciate that, and it goes such a long way in trying to educate the public and help us get more new donors to those places where we already operate.

We also have our stem cell program. Primarily we’re looking for males between the ages of 17 and 35, so if there are people that fit that criteria all they have to do is go online at blood.ca and there is a stem cell section. A kit can be mailed out to them. They swab their mouth and they get registered, so that is another way to help.

Lastly, people can make financial donations through that program if they want to raise funds to support something specific —there is that opportunity as well.

Generally is the amount of donations that come in enough to meet your needs or is there a time of year or circumstances when there is a greater need?
Yes. Right now, our inventory is very strong nationally.

Christmas, the holiday season, is a very difficult time for us specifically because of platelets. Platelets have the shortest shelf life. They have a seven-day shelf life.

We tend to see around the holiday season our appointments drop off so we don’t have as many appointments booked as what we normally would and we really need to get the message out around the holiday season that we need donors to continue to come.

Our hours change very slightly over the holiday season but in general we’re open most days because we need to continue to collect to make those platelets to ensure they stay on the shelves.

That is often our biggest focus around that holiday season.

In general we’ve got a strong inventory, we’re meeting the hospital inpatients’ needs but we need to make sure that people understand that it is that consistency that we need.

Sometimes life’s events change little bit for us and we need to continue to remind people about that.

The other thing that we’re really looking for is new donors overall, so we’re looking to expand our donor base so we have more people that are donating as a lot of our really dedicated donors tend to be a bit older.

As they get older sometimes different medical conditions or life situations might prevent them from being able to donate anymore. We need to ensure that we have enough people that continue to come in to take their spots but also we would like to have a bigger base overall to ensure that we continue to meet the needs.

It’s amazing what your community is doing for that little boy, and those are some of the ways people can help through Canadian Blood Services.


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