Manitoba in urgent need of blood donations in month of July

As Manitoba continues to reopen and loosen restrictions, there is an urgent call for blood donations.

The demand comes as summer is now in full swing and hospitals are looking to catch up on cancelled surgeries. 

Throughout the pandemic, blood inventory levels were maintained but now that situation is changing as 1,000 blood donation appointments are needed in the next three weeks.

"We are seeing an increased need for blood and that’s actually about pre-COVID-19 levels," said Steve Raizen, Manitoba territory manager for the Canadian Blood Services.

While the province as a whole needs 1,000 appointments, 900 of those are needed in Winnipeg.

Raizen said a problem right now is it's summer and people have other things to do.

"This year even more so because restrictions are lifting, people are just not available for blood donation appointments."

Kendra Nixon knows the importance of people donating blood as her son Nathaniel battled Leukemia in 2017 and he had hundreds of blood transfusions.

"It became so normal that you just lost track. He was having them several times a day," said Nixon.

Raizen said there is currently an increased need for O-Negative blood, which is known as the universal donor blood type, because there are more road accidents this time of year.

Nixon said she donates regularly because she is O-Negative, but she never realized the importance until her son's diagnosis.

"When you think of blood donations and who need it, you think of car accidents, surgical patients and not necessarily cancer patients."

She said her family advocates for blood donation as it was a critical part of saving her son's life.

"He would not have survived without them. It was as critical as chemotherapy and the bone marrow transplant for sure."

If you want to make a blood donation, you must make an appointment first which is the Canadian Blood Services' policy during COVID-19.

Men can donate blood every 56 days and women can donate every 84 days.