Time to Donate

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Do you find or make time for television, personal reading, social media, meditation, exercising, or hitting the spa?  Then perhaps you can find time in your schedule to donate blood.

As a health care professional I am reminded daily that blood is a lifesaving resource.  In fact, it is likely that most, if not all, of my clients were a blood recipient at their time of injury.  Yet, according to Canadian Blood Services there is a problem.  As per their website, less than 4% of Canadians donate blood, while over 60% of people are eligible to do so.  Reasons for non-donation include people having a fear of needles (a legitimate an insurmountable problem for many), but most people simply say they “don’t have the time”.  Yet, Canadian Blood Services has estimated that as early as 2014 they will have a blood crisis as loyal and repeat donors (mostly seniors) will start exceeding donation age and will become recipients making the already large gap between low supply and high demand even larger.  This gap will be worsened by the baby boomers over the next two decades.  It is time the next generation takes on this important responsibility. 

This Friday, June 14th, is World Blood Donor Day.  As someone that has never donated (under the category of “no time”) I have since realized that I make time for other things that I consider less important, so it is time for me to become a donor.  I am doing this for several reasons.  One, I have memories of my grandfather, a war veteran, wearing his red blood-drop pin.  I always noticed his pin, worn proud on his lapel, and the thought of becoming a donor reminds me of him.  Two, I have no fear of needles and can make the time because this is important to me.  Three, Canadian Blood Services has made this easy – there is a donation center less than 5Km from my home and I was able to book an appointment online.  Four, as a parent I want to model this behavior for my children.   And five, I recently lost a client who told me that he needed 14 units of blood at the time of his injury and this was a “record”.  His passing has motivated me to finally make the time for this important contribution.

My plan?  Take a book, relax, and take an hour to myself while giving back at the same time.  Based on my blood type after donating I will give myself a big A.