By Bobinec, Greg on February 5, 2020.
The University of Lethbridge student recruitment teams joined Canadian Blood Services Tuesday morning to encourage more students to learn their blood type and sign up to become a regular donor.
Over 110,000 new blood donors are needed in Canada this year to keep up with the current demand. Blood recipient Kate Potts wanted to share her story with her fellow students to help put a face and experience to where the donations are going and why they are so desperately needed.
“When I was four years old, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, which is a very rare and aggressive form of cancer found in children,” says Potts. “Throughout that I was in the hospital for seven months, received four intense rounds of chemotherapy and received over 70 blood transfusions, and those blood transfusions were really what saved my life. The doctors did what they could on the medical side, but without that blood there really is nothing that they could have done.”
Thanks to the support of the community when Potts was younger, she has been able to live 17 years cancer-free. Throughout the day, she shared her story and helped convince students to at least find out their blood type and get them to get started on donating.
“Today we are blood typing, so if you don’t know your blood type, you can come on down,” says Potts. “We have tons of snacks and games, we are doing a selfie booth today, and you are also able to book an appointment to donate blood today.”
Finding long-term blood donors can be a challenge for Canadian Blood Services, and educating the youth on the importance of blood donation can increase the number of life-long blood donors to help keep the supply going. In Lethbridge alone, Canadian Blood Services is hoping to type 100 people to recruit the 30 new donors needed every week to meet the local patient demand.
“I think it is so important that we start these habits when we are young,” says Potts. “Helping to encourage my peers to donate makes it so that we are going to have a constant supply of blood throughout and as everyone grows we are going to have that constant supply of blood, and people are going to start building those habits and starting young so they can continue that habit throughout their life.”
Canadian Blood Services is always looking for new donors to roll up their sleeve and donate a pint of blood on a regular basis to help those in need of blood transfusions and other medical procedures. To make an appointment to find out your blood type, or to donate or both, visit blood.ca for more information.
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