Media Advisory - Make Blood Donation a Long Weekend Tradition

Do something sweet for a patient who needs you this weekend

OTTAWA, April 01, 2015 /CNW/ - As people gather with family and friends and prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover this holiday long weekend, Canadian Blood Services is asking that they also remember to give blood. 

The need for blood and platelet donations never takes a holiday – especially over a long weekend. With many people away or busy with family activities, blood donations normally decrease. Canadian Blood Services relies on the generosity of donors who make the time to book appointments to donate blood leading up to, during and immediately following the long weekend to maintain a strong blood supply for patients.

"We are asking Canadians to join the dedicated blood donors who visit our clinics to help patients in need," says Pamela Mullins, Canadian Blood Services' director of donor relations for Manitoba, Northeastern Ontario and Nunavut. "During a long weekend, platelets are a particular concern. They only have a shelf life of five days, so it's challenging to replenish the supply when so many people are busy celebrating the holiday."

Canadian Blood Services collects platelets as part of your blood donation. Platelets help with clotting and are used by patients receiving treatment for a variety of illnesses like leukemia.

Ottawa photographer Michelle Valberg has planned a different kind of family gathering over the long weekend.

"For eight years my father was blood transfusion dependent," says Michelle, "We found out just before he died that he received over 250 transfusions."

Michelle's father John Valberg lived with myelodysplastic syndrome, which over time progressed to acute leukemia. He passed away in 2013. In honour of her father, Michelle made blood donation a tradition by organizing the annual John Valberg Memorial Blood Drive, taking place this year from April 1 to 8.

"He was so grateful for all the donors that helped him. If he was here today he would be really proud and thankful that we're donating to help others," says Michelle.

The Ottawa blood donor clinic on 1575 Carling Ave. will be open this long weekend on Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The clinic will be closed on Sunday.

To book an appointment, use the GiveBlood App or visit www.blood.ca or those with appointments are encouraged to keep that appointment and, if possible, bring a friend of family member to donate with you.

About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood Services operates 41 permanent collection sites and more than 21,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

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SOURCE Canadian Blood Services

For further information: Tel: 1 877 709 7773, Email: media@blood.ca

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