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Algonquin rolls up sleeves to relieve blood shortage

Students and faculty came out to give life at a blood donor clinic held by the Canadian Blood Services on March 1 in the Marketplace Food Court.

The blood clinic comes at a good time as O negative blood is in high demand according to Mary Ann St. Michael, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services.

“O negative is…the universal donor blood type,” said St. Michael. “Seven per cent of people in Canada have O negative blood type but 12 per cent of hospital orders are for that blood type.”

Canadian blood services like to have five days of O negative blood on the shelf ready to send out to awaiting hospital but currently, they are down to two days.

For a first-time blood donor, the process could seem daunting, said St. Michael, when in all reality the process is practically painless and not that time-consuming; a typical donor will only need to take an hour out of their day in order to save a life.

A mandatory health forum is to be filled out before moving on to a nurse, who makes sure all vitals are in good shape to donate that day. About 450 milliliters of blood is extracted from each donor and the process itself takes about 20 minutes once the needle is inserted.

For second-year early childhood educator student Brenda Singerff, donating blood leaves her feeling good.

“I feel like I’m contributing and doing my part and if you can donate blood you should because you never know if one day you’ll need it.”

According to the Canadian Blood Services website, a single blood donation is divided into three parts: red blood cells, platelets, and plasma. Red blood cells have a shelf life of 45 days while platelets are only good for four to seven days so donating your platelets helps someone out by the end of the week

As of March 10, the Canadian Blood Services need an influx of 800 donors in the Ottawa area in order to reach the demands of hospitals. The goal for the Algonquin Blood Clinic was 77 units of blood collected. The ultimate goal of Canadian Blood Services is 1400 units of blood collected by the middle of March

For 10-time donor Andrew Dowel, he decided to donate blood because “It seemed like a nice thing to do. It’s easy and convenient and you get a big return on feeling good for not a lot of investment.”

Anyone interested in donating can do so by checking out My Blood App. Blood clinics are held daily. The Canadian Blood Services also has a permanent clinic at 1575 Carling Ave and they are open six days a week.

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