Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
OPINION `New blood' needed for Blood Services
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 9 Aug 2006, p. 6

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Summer is traditionally a slow period for blood donations, but a report last week indicated the Canadian Blood Service (CBS) is facing problems more serious than a typical summer slowdown. According to CBS polling, while a vast of Canadians believe donating blood is a good thing (71 per cent) and many say they intend to donate (22 per cent), only a small percentage actually give the gift of life. "The technical number is 3.7 per cent of eligible Canadians actually donate," said Andrew Laycock of the CBS. Compared to other countries, such as Australia and the United Kingdom in which 5-6.5 per cent of those eligible donate, Canada's numbers are shockingly poor. The best Canadians have ever done was 5 per cent-- during the Second World War! While the number of those donating has actually climbed by 0.2 per cent in the past three years, it's obvious more people are needed to roll up their sleeves. What's even more distressing is that, when the numbers are broken down by province, Ontarians are even less likely to give than most other provinces. In Ontario, where the province is broken into regions, Toronto (which encompasses the GTA area), has the lowest donation rate in Canada at 2.6 per cent. But the news gets even more ominous. The vast majority of those donating are baby boomers, meaning that the donation pool is aging. While the CBS has held recruitment drives at universities and high schools in recent years, young people need to understand the importance of giving blood and just how easy it is to donate. Another conundrum facing the CBS is that many people are repeat donors. While that, in itself, is good news, it means the CBS is relying on the same people to keep donating. What it all boils down to is the fact the CBS could use "new blood"-- for the benefit of all of us.

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9 Aug 2006
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OPINION `New blood' needed for Blood Services