Canadians urged to donate blood in honour of Canadian Forces Personnel

    HALIFAX, Oct. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Blood Services along with the
Canadian Forces - Regular and Reserve- and their families are asking all
Canadians who can to please 'report for duty' at the Canadian Blood Services
centres to donate blood as a way of honouring the past and ongoing
contributions of Canadian Forces personnel in Canada and around the world.
    Between November 1-30 all blood donors at Canadian Blood Services clinics
across the country will have the opportunity to fill in an "In Honour" card
recognizing the humanitarian contribution Canadian Troops are making around
the world.
    "Canadian Blood Services is thrilled as this national Partner for Life
has resulted in a commitment from CF personnel to over 8,000 donations in
2007," says Dr. Verna Skanes, Chair of Canadian Blood Services' Board of
Directors. "In addition, our partnership with the Reserves in kicking off this
initiative will not only allow Canadians to once again support the troops
current and past but also will help the CF to meet their donation commitment."
    Canadian Blood Services, the Canadian Forces (CF) and Royal Canadian
Legion entered into a national partnership in 2006 through the Partners for
Life program. Members of the Partners for Life program demonstrate their
commitment to saving lives by promoting blood donation in the workplace,
hosting on-site clinics and in some cases by allowing time off to donate. This
was the first national partnership established and, to date, it has been very
successful. Almost 6000 units of blood have been collected from across the
country between the months of January to September from CF employees, friends
and family reaching 73% of the total target of 8037 units and so far helping
to save or improve over 17,000 lives.
    In addition to the program, Canadian Blood Services and the CF are asking
that Canadians donate not only for full-time members of the CF but also those
who volunteer much of their time to help others. Captain Watson knows the
importance of both blood donation and the reserves in Canada. Having been in
the reserves for 19 years and having a 7-year-old boy who is a hemophiliac,
the partnership to him makes a lot of sense; "Blood we all depend on it and I
know, how important it is to help the Canadian Blood Services ensure the
stability of the blood supply," he says.
    Being close to the Canadian public in their everyday life, reservists can
easily relate to blood donors. "Similar to blood donors, reservists are
volunteers who may be saving lives at critical times," explains MGen Petras.
He continues, "In addition to their military commitments, many reservists
maintain a full-time civilian job and a family, and regularly donate some of
their time to give blood. As volunteers, like blood donors, they are some of
this country's most committed unspoken heroes."
    This fall, mobile clinics will visit Canadian Forces bases across the
country so that members of the Canadian Forces, their families and their
friends can do their part to respond to the increasing need for blood. This is
the sixth year for the campaign by the Canadian Blood Services that has been
nicknamed "Donate Red".
    "This annual blood donation drive is an opportunity for Canadians to show
support for the members and veterans of the Canadian Forces who have always
been generous donors," said Dr. Skanes. "At the same time, this is an
opportunity to help ensure that those across Canada battling injury and
illness get the blood and blood products they need. Every minute of every day
someone in Canada needs blood or blood products."
    The Canadian military has a strong, historical link to the blood system. 
Canadians began to voluntarily donate blood to help wounded Canadian troops
during World War II.  This was the start of blood banking in Canada and the
wartime effort showed that Canadians had both the national will and the
generosity to sustain a voluntary blood system.
    This year the CF family as a whole - Regular and Reserve Force members
and their families - are asking the Canadian public to come out and give
blood. Demand has been strong for blood and blood products and this past
summer there were critical shortages.
    Corporal Shaun Fevens, a reservist injured in Afghanistan who is
attending this year's launch knows the importance of blood donation, "You
don't realize how important blood donation is until you are the person who
needs blood.''
    The launch will take place on Wednesday, October 24 at 12:30 pm at the
Halifax and Region Military Family Resource Centre. Major-General Petras, Dr.
Verna Skanes, Cpl Shaun Fevens will speak to the media and other to help
launch this very important month where Canadians are not only encouraged to
give blood but to give while honouring our troops.
    To make an appointment to donate blood call 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888

    About Canadian Blood Services

    Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable
organization that manages the blood supply in all provinces and territories
outside of Quebec and oversees the country's Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor
Registry. A dedicated team of about 4,500 staff and 17,000 volunteers enable
us to operate 41 permanent collection sites and more than 19,000 donor clinics
annually. Canadian Blood Services is a non-governmental organization, however
the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Health provide operational
funding, and the federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for
regulating the blood system.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Danielle Norris, Canadian Blood Services, (613)

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