NORTH DURHAM: Minister of Veterans Affairs and Durham MP Erin O’Toole has teamed up with his counterparts from Durham Region for a friendly challenge between the MPs this summer, to help boost donations to Canadian Blood Services.
Joining MP O’Toole in the challenge are Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander, MP Corneliu Chisu, MP Colin Carrie and MP Pat Perkins. They will be encouraging local residents to donate blood at clinics across Durham Region throughout the summer.
The challenge appeared to get off to a great start for MP O’Toole on Wednesday, July 8, at the blood donor clinic at the Scugog Community Centre, with a booking rate of 96 percent.
“It’s fortunate that there is a strong base of dedicated donors in North Durham that have made a great commitment to being regular contributors to Canadian Blood Services,” MP O’Toole told The Standard.
As O’Toole explained, the challenge was a way to encourage donations from the community during the summers months, when blood supplies have historically dwindled.
“For us, it’s a fun way to raise awareness,”explained MP O’Toole. “Over the next few weeks, MPs in Durham are challenging each other to see who can increase donations at their clinics in the summer months when it’s slower. More than half of the population is eligible to give blood, but only four per cent of people do.”
Canadian Blood Services territory manager Sue Harris explained that the need for blood donations is constant, and noted the need for new and regular donors to contribute.
“We need a constant supply. It’s a constant, constant need and so many people don’t realize that. The bottom line is 50 per cent of us will need blood in our lifetime and if new people aren’t giving, and we have an aging population, it becomes difficult to meet demand,” Ms. Harris added.
Ms. Harris also noted that staff levels are sufficient for walk-in donations, or appointments can be made by calling 1-888-2-DONATE or on-line at www.blood.ca.
Additional blood donor clinics in North Durham this summer will take place at Sunderland Memorial Arena on Friday, July 17, and at the Uxbridge Seniors Centre on Friday, Aug. 21.
“It doesn’t matter where donations come from, be it big cities or small towns. Every donation makes a tremendous difference,” added Mr. O’Toole.