Final harvest for Canadian Blood Services

After eight years of blood donor clinics in Meadow Lake, Canadian Blood Services asked residents to roll up their sleeves for the last time May 25. Here, Meadow Lake resident Lori Allan donates blood with the assistance of phlebotomist Jacquie Matthies.

After eight years of blood donor clinics in Meadow Lake, Canadian Blood Services asked residents to roll up their sleeves for the last time May 25. Here, Meadow Lake resident Lori Allan donates blood with the assistance of phlebotomist Jacquie Matthies.

by Derek Cornet

After drawing first blood in Meadow Lake eight years ago, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) held its final donor clinic here May 25.

Since arriving in the city, the organization has partnered with the Meadow Lake Lions Club, which rented the space for the event and provided snacks to attendees. But, the relationship came to an end when CBS officials announced the closure of 16 mobile and three permanent clinics through Canada April 30. Club secretary Bill Hart said close to $1,500 was spent yearly to host the blood drives.

“The reason they’re cancelling the mobile blood drives is because of economics,” he remarked. “Bringing15 or 16 people to Meadow Lake is a costly affair and they have to be housed overnight.”

Hart went on to say club members were disappointed with the sudden cancellation. The dates for three other clinics had already been arranged before CBS decided to pull the plug. He said hosting donor clinics was important to members because it was an crucial service for the community and there’s always a need for blood in the healthcare field.

Judy Jones, an associate director for donor relations with CBS, said in the last two years the organization had seen a slight and steady decline in the need for blood. She noted hospitals have adopted more efficient approaches to using blood and conserving it.

“They’re utilizing the product in a more efficient way,” Jones added. “They wouldn’t be using as much as they needed in the past.”

However, she noted the cost to operate the clinic was a factor. She said the number of collected units along with the distance of the site and its proximity to a CBS production plant were also reasons. Last year, 495 units of blood were donated at four clinics in Meadow Lake. CBS hoped to receive 576.
Even though donor clinics have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, Hart remains optimistic CBS will return. He said club members have already extended an invitation for them to return if they wish.

“They never said they weren’t coming back,” Hart noted. “If the need for blood rises, they’ll probably come back to us.”

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