West Vancouver residents will have a chance to roll up their sleeves for a good cause this month.
Canadian Blood Services are holding a blood donor clinic in West Vancouver for the first time in five years, with the help of the West Vancouver Sunrise Rotary Club, West Vancouver Foundation and West Vancouver Chamber.
“It’s quite a big deal that we’re in West Vancouver,” said Gayle Voyer, associate director of donor relations and collections for the B.C. and Yukon region of Canadian Blood Services.
The blood donor clinic is taking place May 26 at the Congregation Har El, on the southwest corner of the Highway and Taylor Way. Donors are asked to register online for particular time slots in advance.
Voyer said the long delay in having a clinic in West Vancouver wasn’t actually connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was more to do with the availability of suitable venues.
Blood services has continued to hold regular blood donor clinics in North Vancouver, at sites like the Pipe Shop and Queen Mary Elementary.
One thing the pandemic has impacted is the number of regular donors who have been giving blood. That’s been steadily declining, said Voyer. Some regular donors dropped out if they got sick, while others who have been keen to travel since restrictions lifted just haven't been available.
Canadian Blood Services has an immediate need for blood donations, said Voyer, especially people with O negative and B negative blood types. Both are relatively rare blood types that can be used to give blood to people who also have less common blood types.
“We have less than four days’ supply” of those blood types, she said. “We are asking everyone who is eligible who has been a donor in the past [to donate],” she said.
Blood donors will be asked standard “wellness” screening questions prior to giving blood and will be asked to wear a mask throughout the donation process.
Donors are also encouraged to go online and take an eligibility quiz in advance of their donation, to make sure they are eligible to give blood prior to coming to the clinic. Eligibility can be affected by a number of things – from the date someone last got a tattoo to whether they were given blood during a recent surgery. Anyone who has travelled outside Canada, for instance, must wait 14 days upon returning to donate blood.