LHSC and Canadian Blood Services partner to promote blood donation this summer


For Immediate Release

June 26 , 2017


LONDON, Ontario - London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), in partnership with Canadian Blood Services (CBS), is urging Londoners to consider booking an appointment to donate blood this summer to help ensure that patients have access to this lifesaving gift when they need it most.

LHSC is one of the top users of blood products in Canada, caring for the most medically complex and critically ill patients in our region. An estimated 17,804 units of blood are required in 2017 to meet the needs of patients at LHSC and approximately 2,500 new donors are needed this year to help meet the demand.

For Leah Hunt, the memory of her young daughter Fiona requiring ongoing transfusions of blood and platelets is still fresh. Just two years ago, Fiona was battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia – an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow – and the toddler relied on blood donors to help survive chemotherapy and a subsequent bone marrow transplant. Today, thankfully, Fiona is able to enjoy a carefree childhood.

“If a supply of blood had not been there, it would have meant Fiona’s demise,” says Leah Hunt. “When your child’s life hangs in the balance, I cannot imagine having to wonder if there will be blood available to help her survive treatment. It isn’t something a parent should ever have to worry about.”

The need for blood is high throughout the summer months when regular donors are on vacation. Additionally, LHSC often has greater need for blood on holiday weekends when there is an increase in travel and activity, leading to injuries from traffic collisions and recreational accidents. Throughout the month of June, LHSC’s staff and physicians have been encouraged to donate blood to help ensure a steady supply is available leading into the Canada Day weekend and throughout the remainder of the summer. LHSC also encourages members of the community who are eligible to donate blood to consider rolling up their sleeves.

“Blood is a very precious resource and we rely one hundred per cent on volunteer donors to maintain this vital link in our health care,” says Dr. Ian Chin-Yee, Program Head of Laboratory Medicine at LHSC and Associate Medical Director for Canadian Blood Services. “Blood products have a limited shelf life, and as a result we depend on constant donations to maintain and renew our blood supply.”

“Canadian Blood Services is proud to partner with LHSC to encourage blood donation, particularly at a time where we are experiencing a shortage of blood products across the country,” says Kristen Ungar, Territory Manager, Donor Relations at Canadian Blood Services. “We are pleading with Londoners to book appointments to help us meet our targets.”

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 142 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 70 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

About Canadian Blood Services
Canadian Blood Services manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec). We operate an integrated, pan-Canadian service delivery model that includes leading an interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation. Our national scope, infrastructure and governance make us unique in the Canadian healthcare landscape. Canadian Blood Services is regulated as a biologics manufacturer by Health Canada and primarily funded by the provincial and territorial ministries of health. Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization.

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NOTE: Leah and Fiona Hunt are available for media interviews from 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm on Tuesday, June 27. Please RSVP for location and to book an interview.

For media inquiries contact:
Cassie Dowse
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 75313

After-hours assistance:
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call

Visit the LHSC Media web site at www.lhsc.on.ca/media
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