Annual Sirens for Life blood challenge a lifesaver
Brampton - Police, fire, and paramedic services are pumping up and getting a little bloody as they launch Sirens for Life, an annual battle with a life-saving goal. In partnership with Canadian Blood Services, the annual emergency services blood donor challenge runs from July 1 to Sept. 6 as the three branches compete to donate the most blood. Although the competition for bragging rights is friendly, every police, fire or EMS worker knows the importance of blood.
For this year's Canadian Blood Services' Sirens for Life blood donor challenge, the goal is to collect 1,300 units of blood and 100 new One Match Stem Cell and Marrow Network registrants by Sept. 6 to help meet patient needs this summer.
"Fire, police, and emergency medical services employees are rolling up their sleeves and going arm-to-arm during this lifesaving battle to donate the most blood for their community," says Lilet Raffinan, Community Development Coordinator at Canadian Blood Services. "They are on the frontline everyday and know lives can change in an instant. Anyone can need blood at anytime."
The need for blood doesn't take a summer vacation. Patients treated for cancer, undergoing surgery or experiencing a trauma depend on a stable supply of blood year-round. Emergency organizations are "battling" together to save lives during the Sirens for Life blood donor campaign.
Canadian Blood Services forecasts it needs to collect 227,000 units of whole blood, including 25,000 units of O negative blood type nationally during June, July and August to meet hospital demand across the country.
As we move into summer holidays, Canadian Blood Services urges local residents to join emergency services staff and donate at local clinics. Blood donations from Sirens for Life personnel and supporters help combat an increase in the number of missed and cancelled appointments due to vacations and busy schedules. Missed and cancelled appointments intensify the difficulty of maintaining summer blood inventory levels at optimum five-day supply levels. At the same time, blood demand can increase with higher incidences of road trauma since even one accident victim may need as many as 30-50 units of blood to survive.
This is the second year Sirens for Life participants are also registering as stem cell donors with the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network to help the over 765 Canadians currently searching for a stem cell donor match. For these patients, a stem cell transplant may be the last and best hope for recovery from diseases such as leukemia, aplastic anaemia, immune dysfunctions and genetic disorders. Only about 30% of patients are lucky enough to find a match from within their own family. For some 70% of those in need, an unrelated donor is their only hope.Registration is easy and DNA testing is completed with a simple cheek swab kit sent by mail.
To make an appointment to give blood this summer, to learn about eligibility requirements or to find the nearest clinic location, call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283) or visit blood.ca.
To register as a stem cell donor, or for more information about the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network visit onematch.ca.
OneMatch and Blood - By the Numbers:
It's estimated that 1 out of 2 Canadians is eligible to donate blood. Last year 1 in 60 actually did. If you are 17 or older and in good health, you can probably donate blood.
On average, every 60 seconds someone in Canada requires blood or blood products. About 52 per cent of Canadians say they or a family member have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment (Ipsos-Reid)
The need for blood is constant because of limited shelf life: platelets, a blood component used by many cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation so it isn't possible to "stock up."Donating around long weekends helps to maintain the constant supply needed by hospitals.
People who are in good health and between the ages of 17 and 50 are encouraged to join OneMatch. There are approximately 258,000 registrants currently on the OneMatch donor base.
A patient's best chance at finding a stem cell match is from within their own ethnic background, so there is an ongoing need to diversify the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network registry to better represent Canada's population. Additional registrants from all ethnic backgrounds are needed.
About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood Services operates 42 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics annually. The provincial and territorial Ministries of Health provide operational funding to Canadian Blood Services. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system. For more information, please visit our Web site at http://www.blood.ca/.