Kelowna’s Bob Greig holds a sign signifying his 31st blood donation during a visit to the Canadian Blood Services clinic in Kelowna last year. Forty-one years ago, 31 units of blood were used to help save Greig’s life. Photo: Capital News files

Urgent need for Kelowna, Vernon blood donors

Okanagan blood shortfall part of nation-wide challenge

Kelowna is feeling the pinch from a shortfall of blood donors across the country.

Canadian Blood Services is urgently in need of 22,000 donors between now and Labour Day. The shortfall in Kelowna is openings for 400 open blood donation appointments to help fill the national blood inventory needs for the rest of this summer.

Gayle Voyer, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services out of Kelowna, said summer is always a challenge for generating blood donations because people fall out of their normal routines during the fall, winter and spring.

Related: Importance of giving blood hits close to home

“People are going on vacations, hosting visitors or are busy with their kids. So potential donors might postpone coming to our clinics until the fall but we are saying we need everyone to roll up their sleeves now to meet the blood demand,” she said.

Voyer said of the 22,000 national donor need, more than 4,300 of those fall on B.C. to generate.

“Within the Interior between Kamloops, Vernon and Kelowna, that number is up about 700 donations we need over the next couple of weeks,” she said.

Rick Prinzen, Canadian Blood Services’ vice-president of donor relations, says while all blood donations are welcome, in particular demand are those with Type O blood.

Related: Kelowna politicians and B.C. sheriff’s deputies mark blood donor week

Prinzen explains O-negative blood is always in demand by hospitals because of its unique compatibility with other blood types.

In an emergency, Prinzen says when second count and there is no time to check blood type, patients receive O-negative blood.

“Giving blood is a lifesaving habit that will make a real difference in a stranger’s life,” Prinzen said. “New donors are fundamental to meeting Canada’s blood needs over the longer term.

“If every donor brings a friend to donate, or encourages others to give life, they can have a tremendous impact on the supply system. We are urging to donate by Aug. 26.”

Related: Meet Canada’s oldest blood donor

Kelowna blood donor clinics operate Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and every second Saturday (upcoming Aug. 18 and Sept. 1). The clinic is located at 103-1865 Dilworth Dr., across from Orchard Park Shopping Centre.

Clinics are scheduled in Vernon for Aug. 22, 23 and 24, from 2-6 p.m. each day. The clinic is located at the Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Way.

To book individual appointments at www.blood.ca.

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