A Call For Donors During Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Doctor

As Blood Cancer Awareness Month Gets underway, a local Brockville resident is trying to get you to donate.

Brian Fraser has recently been diagnosed with chronic Leukemia.

Speaking on JRFM's Hot Topic, Fraser says he never gave serious thought about donating blood before, but has since learned how vital it is.

"Someone who's going through blood cancer, particularly acute Leukemia, is going to need platelets, they're going to need transfusions, surgeries," he explains. "So it's really important to get out there and donate blood."

Fraser suffers from chronic Leukemia, a slow progressive form of blood cancer, it differs from acute in that acute Leukemia is a fast-growing form of the disease that progresses quickly. Fraser will carry it with him for the rest of his life, and it will have to be managed by doctors and prescriptions.

But new statistics by the Canadian Cancer Society suggest the survival rate for blood cancer is outpacing the survival rate of any other cancer.  Leukemia survivals rates jumped from 43% to 59% over 20 years.

Researchers say that's largely due to advancements in precision medicine -- which are customized treatments based on a person's genes or other unique features of the cancer the person has.

Since his diagnosis Fraser says has been in some scary situations, including when he had an extremely low platelet count. That’s the part of your blood that can help stop bleeding.

"When my platelet count went down they weren't sure if they were going to do a platelet transfusion," he explains. That means they would have to find a match and get him to Ottawa, where he's being treated, for the procedure.

"All the while they're basically bubble wrapping me in case I step on a rock or something," he says of how fragile life can become without it.

Monday, the city is hosting its monthly Canadian Blood Services clinic at the Brockville Memorial Centre.

Fraser says not many pre-booked spots remain - but he is encouraging people to sign up for the next one in October.

"[Blood donations is] just something you can never have enough of because these things do come up," he says.