Many Happy Returns for National Blood Donor Week

    Canadians most generous in the world - but there is room to grow

    OTTAWA, June 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Today marks the beginning of the first
National Blood Donor Week recognized by the Government of Canada. The week,
culminating June 14 on World Blood Donor Day, is an opportunity to thank
volunteer donors for their selfless life-saving act, call upon others to join
them, and remind Canadians of the challenges of managing the country's blood
supply, particularly during the summer months.
    This year's theme, "Many Happy Returns", was chosen to highlight the
importance of committed, lifelong donors, and the many opportunities to save
lives through blood donation in the course of a year.
    "Canadian blood donors are the most generous in the world," said Ian
Mumford, Chief Operating Officer of Canadian Blood Services. In comparison to
benchmarking partner organizations in the US, UK, Australia and some European
countries, Canadian donors are tops with an average donation rate of
2.18 times a year. However there is still room to grow. Of the 400,000 active
donors in Canada, nearly 275,000 gave once or twice last year. Blood donors
are eligible to give every 56 days, which can mean six to seven times a year.
That distinction belongs to a select group of 14,500 Canadians last year.
    Facing a 2% increase demand for blood this year, which translates into
17,000 units of blood, Canadian Blood Services is counting on attracting
90,000 new donors to the cause, and asking its occasional donors to consider
returning at least one more time during the year.
    "The old adage that it's more efficient to retain customers than attract
new ones is certainly true in the blood system as well," says Mumford. "There
is no question we need more committed donors to lighten the load on our
existing donors. However, if even a small percentage of our once-a-year or
twice-a-year donors gave just one more time, it would have a tremendous impact
on meeting patient needs now and into the future."
    The challenge of recruiting blood donors is heightened during the summer
months when high school and university clinics are not in session, and when
Canadians deviate from their routines and blood donation isn't top of mind.
From June to August this year, we estimate that hospital patients will require
the donations from 219,000 donors.
    If you are interested in adding "saving lives" to your list of summer
activities, we urge you to call 1 888 2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) today to book
an appointment to give blood.

    About World Blood Donor Day

    World Blood Donor Day falls within National Blood Donor Week on June 14th
- the birth date of Karl Landsteiner, a pioneer of transfusion medicine. Every
year the World Health Organization selects a country to host international
celebrations. Last year Canada had that honour and hosted the world stage with
ceremonies in Ottawa. This year the United Arab Emirates will host the world
with the theme "many happy returns." Blood centres everywhere face challenges
in recruiting and retaining blood donors.

    About National Blood Donor Week

    National Blood Donor Week is celebrating a new status this year. Last
spring, the federal government passed a bill making the week "official." The
bill was initially brought forward in the Senate in 2005 by Liberal Senator
Terry Mercer and co-sponsor Conservative Senator Ethel Cochrane (Newfoundland
and Labrador). Navdeep Bains, MP (Mississauga-Brampton South) sponsored the
Senate Bill in the House of Commons where all parties supported it. "We say
'thank you' to everyone involved with spreading the word about the importance
of blood donation," said Senators Mercer & Cochrane. "However, we need new
volunteers who will carry on this tradition. Let's make a commitment to save
lives together!"

                               By the numbers

    - We need 900,000 blood donations this year to meet hospital demand in
    - Number of donors required from June to August: 219,000
    - We are facing a 2% growth in the number of donations required to meet
      hospital demand this year - that means over 17,000 additional donations
    - We need 90,000 new donors to keep our donor pool robust
    - Donors can give every 56 days, or six to seven times a year
    - With 41 permanent sites across the country, and 20,000 annual clinics,
      there are plenty of opportunities to save lives.
    - In Canada 185,000 donors gave once last year, 90,000 gave twice
    - 14,500 gave six or seven times
    - Approximately 1 in 2 Canadians can give blood
    - Last year, 1 in 60 did

    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 OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow
Network (formerly the Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry). A dedicated team
of about 4,600 staff and 17,000 volunteers enable us to operate 41 permanent
collection sites and more than 20,000 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. For more info, visit

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Anne Trueman, Media Relations
Manager, Office: (613) 739-2538, Mobile: (613) 295-5622,

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Canadian Blood Services

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