|Inken Bartholain, a phlebotomist with Canadian Blood Services, packages and prepares donated blood on Thursday. The clinic is in need of donations over the Christmas holidays, a time when donations slow down.|
And the hours of the two clinics on Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 have been rescheduled in recognition of the holidays the next day.
In the spirit of Christmas gifts, the national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products has adopted the slogan of: "Give a holiday miracle."
"Collecting blood during the holiday season is a challenge, as many donors go away or are busy with other activities. Yet many patients will spend their holiday receiving cancer treatment or undergoing life-saving surgery and emergency care," said Erin Kavanagh, partnership specialist in Kelowna.
During the weeks of Dec. 24 and 31, Canadian Blood Services estimates it will need 25,000 units of blood to give holiday miracles to hospital patients across Canada, she said.
Many Canadians are making that gift but Canadian Blood Services still needs 3,000 more Canadians to book appointments and donate blood between now and the end of the holiday season.
"In Kelowna, we need 330 donors to donate blood in order to help meet this goal. We could use a wonderful holiday gift on Dec. 24. We're a little slow that day which is understandable. Unfortunately, the need for blood never takes a holiday," said Kavanagh.
Platelets, which are derived from blood donations, are of particular concern around the holiday season, she noted.
"Because platelets only have a shelf life of five days, it is not possible to 'stock up' ahead of time. Patients with diseases, such as cancer, need large quantities of platelets as part of their treatment. It is critical that our clinics are full of 'miracle workers' over the holidays to meet the need for platelets."
"We'd like to thank Canadians who took the time to donate blood so far this holiday season, but we need that generosity to continue through the end of the year," added Ed Yee, director of donor and clinic services for the B.C. and Yukon region.
"As the year draws to an end, do something that embodies the spirit and generosity of the season - give blood. It costs you nothing, and it will give someone a holiday miracle."
The permanent blood donor clinic at 103-1865 Dilworth Dr. in Kelowna is open the regular hours of 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on the two Thursdays, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, but 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, on Dec. 29 and New Year's Eve, Dec. 31. The Westbank clinic is 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Dec. 24 but has has been moved to Const. Neil Bruce Middle School, 2010 Daimler Rd. in West Kelowna, from its usual spot at Emmanuel Assembly Church.
Kelowna clinics are normally open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, then 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on alternating Saturdays. You can book an appointment online at: blood.ca or call 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283). "We do honour and appreciate it when people call to make appointments," said Kavanagh.