UPDATED: This article was originally published on April 1 and has been updated for World Blood Donor Day, June 14.
Every day in Quebec people get blood transfusions for many different reasons. Some people have blood diseases and can’t make their own blood cells, some people have cancer and some people are bleeding because they were in a car accident. Every day they need blood — whether it’s a snow storm, New Year’s Eve or the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic. The problem is that blood comes from volunteer donors. If people don’t donate blood, we’ll run out pretty quickly. Red blood cells can be kept for about 42 days, and platelets (the part of your blood you use to stop bleeding) only lasts 7, so you can imagine that the longer we go without donations, the less blood we have.
This is where you come in.
Everyone’s been telling you to stay home, and you absolutely should. The only people in the streets should be people working in essential services, but you can be essential, too. Wash your hands, keep six feet away from everyone else and go donate blood just one time. We’re looking down the barrel of people dying if there aren’t enough volunteers who donate blood. Over the next month or two, this one action is more likely to save a life than anything you may do for the rest of your life. I know you don’t like needles, I know you may have issues with the restriction on who can and who can’t donate blood, but over the next few weeks you could make all the difference.
See more about World Blood Donor Day here. ■
Dr. Michael Buck is a Montreal-based hematologist who works at l’Hôpital du Suroît in Valleyfield, QC.
For more information from about donating blood Héma-Québec, click here. You can also call 1-800-847-2525.
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