Giving blood nothing to fear

Canadian Blood Services hosts a mobile donation clinic every two months in Napanee.

For the last decade or so, this scribe has promoted them through preview articles, urging others to book an appointment while stressing the fact blood was in short supply.

On Friday it was time to finally do as I write, roll up a sleeve, hop in a chair and take part in the mobile clinic held at the Strathcona Paper Centre.  The incentive of potentially saving up to three lives with one donation was certainly a driving factor, but admittedly so too was the notion giving blood would provide the perfect topic to write about in this space. The free cookies after the fact were a huge plus, as well. As owner of O Negative blood, known as the universal donor type, there was that extra bit of self-imposed ‘obligation’ to do my part.

Mostly, the biggest push was the hope if this first timer could face the big needle, so too could others who might be on the fence about giving blood. Several others first timers answered the call last Friday as well, as Canadian Blood Services reported 24 new faces at the event. They also surpassed expectations for the first time in almost a year, collecting 135 total units.

Few, if any, like the idea of needles. Naturally, there were some nerves on the drive over to the SPC mobile clinic. Upon arrival, newbies are handed a sticker that asks others to be kind, it’s their first time. A good way to break the ice, but also a little reassurance the phlebotomists will keep close watch during the process.

From there it’s a quick, non-invasive questionnaire followed by a private consultation with a nurse to make sure a potential donor is qualified to give blood. A small prick on the finger to check iron levels  and then it was off to the waiting area. A short wait later and it’s time to give 450 mL of crimson.

This part is probably the one most people fear, but in truth it’s no big deal. A quick jab is all that’s felt and then 10 to 15 minutes later it’s all over. If in the rare case something doesn’t feel right, a donor can always call for help and one of the four staff on hand can halt the process. Most will feel fine after a 10-minute rest. Others may experience small bruising. All told, a small price to pay to provide the gift of life.

If Canadian Blood Services is to meet its ever growing demand, it’s going to take more would-be first time donors to put aside the excuses and volunteer. We all want blood available if the unthinkable should ever happen to us or a loved one, so to anyone needing a push to do it, this is it. To  register for the next mobile clinic, visit

Adam Prudhomme

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