Canadian Blood Services has called for more blood and plasma donations as recent natural disasters have resulted in lower than expected donor numbers this summer.
Here's what you need to know:
More than 300 appointments canceled in the Kelowna area
Almost 10,000 jobs need to be filled in Canada
Canadians are asked to ‘close the gap'
The nonprofit charity said in a Monday press release that Canada “continues to face unique circumstances this summer,” a time of year when blood and plasma supplies are typically more difficult to maintain.
According to Canadian Blood Services, donated blood can only be stored for up to 42 days, and nearly 10,000 donation appointments across Canada must be filled by Labor Day.
“We expected to see lower attendance during the summer months when regular donors take summer vacations, but extraordinary natural phenomena across the country presented unforeseen challenges to people from coast to coast,” said Ron Vezina, vice president of public affairs at Canadian Blood Services said in a statement.
“Heat waves and wildfires, torrential rains and flash floods are putting pressure on communities as people deal with the emergencies to come. Fewer people have donated, but despite these circumstances, patients continue to need vital blood and plasma donations.”
Regions of the Northwest Territories and British Columbia have had to be evacuated in recent weeks due to major wildfires there, the latest in a series of natural disasters that have struck across the country.
Fires have caused damage or destruction in the Kelowna and Shuswap areas of British Columbia hundreds of structuresAs of Sunday.
Canadian Blood Services said it canceled more than 300 fundraiser appointments in the Kelowna area last week because of the wildfires.
“Our thoughts are with the communities affected by the catastrophic events this summer,” Vezina said.
“Canadians are always willing to step up and help out in the neighborhood, and that's why we're asking people across the country to fill that gap. If you can safely visit a donor center or mobile event, please do so as soon as possible.” You can. Patients are counting on you.”
The organization is asking Canadians to follow her on social media @CanadasLifeline and to book an appointment by going to blood.approxby downloading the GiveBlood app or by calling 1-888-2DONATE (1-888-236-6283).
According to Canadian Blood Services, many locations offer same-day appointments.
With files from CTVNewsVancouver.ca reporter Kaija Jussinoja