College to host blood drive due to shortages

A photo of Elaine Keller in front of a sign with th Canadian Blood Services logo. CREDIT: MANJOT SINGH
Elaine Keller (pictured) said that Canadian Blood Services needs donors to help fill the need for blood.

On Nov. 13, Canadian Blood Services will host a blood drive on the second floor of the Student Centre at Fanshawe College for students across campus and the community to attend and donate.

The need for blood is crucial as the Canadian Blood Services continue to experience a severely low inventory, the lowest it’s ever been in over a decade, according to Canadian Blood Services Community Development Manager and Fanshawe College graduate, Elaine Keller.

“It is great that in my career now, I can work with the school to help save lives,” Keller said. “The focus is to help support patients across Canada and London as our inventory has been at the lowest it has ever been.”

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Keller said that there are roughly 10 million people in Ontario who are eligible to donate blood.

“Over 140 hospitals in Ontario can receive more than 31,000 units of blood every month, about 7,400 weekly, thanks to the donors,” Keller said. “We find that only a mere fraction of people donate. That is just about 1.5 per cent of the population.”

According to Keller, more than 4,000 new blood donors are needed monthly in Ontario. She added that for London, they are looking for about 995 donors.

“We need about 370,000 units of blood in a year. Bringing these types of events on campus will allow us to fill the gap that we are currently experiencing.”

Keller said that the blood will go to patients in need and patients who are fighting for their lives every day in hospitals. “You just never know who you could be helping. Life can change in seconds, and you or someone you love may need blood urgently,” Keller said. “There is no substitute for donated blood.”

Keller stated that counting on blood supplies is a critical part of everyday medical care, including major surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatment, and managing diseases and disorders. She added that there is a specific type of blood that doctors can always grab with “no thought” when it comes to an emergency.

“All blood types are very needed, but O negative can help all blood types,” Keller said.

To consider if someone is eligible to donate blood, Canadian Blood Services has some things to check. Anyone can donate blood as long as they:

  • Have not had a tattoo or piercing done in the last three months
  • Have not travelled outside Canada or the continental USA in the last 12 months
  • Weigh more than 110lbs
  • Have not been pregnant or given birth in the last six months
  • Have not been taking prescription medications
  • have not had a cleaning or a filling in the last 24 hours or dental surgery in the previous 72 hours
“We also want to ensure everyone has had something salty to eat and 500mL of water to drink before donating,” Keller said. “Community members must be over the age of 17 to donate.”

Keller said she encourages students to visit their London permanent location, which is open six days a week at 820 Wharncliffe Rd. S.

“The blood donation process is fast; we have seen a record time of five minutes,” Keller said.

For more eligibility information or to book an appointment, students can call 1-888-236-6283 or visit the website blood.ca.