LETHBRIDGE - The holiday season is synonymous with giving, but one of the most important things a person can give is blood.
The Coaldale Cares Campaign is an initiative that has been encouraging blood donations for the past 10 years.
Community members began this year's effort to find donors eligible to donate blood to give blood at Canadian Blood Services in Lethbridge on Friday morning.
Lethbridge MP Rachael Harder joined Coaldale Mayor Kim Craig at the event to thank donors for giving the gift of blood, and representatives from the Kinsmen Club of Coaldale, Intercontinental Truck Body and Kate Andrews High School donated and discussed the campaign's importance.
Craig says this is such a good cause due to the shortage of blood, and considering the time of year.
"It's important to encourage citizens of Coaldale to step up and donate because the more groups getting behind it and embracing it, the more successful the drive will be," Craig continued. "It's gratifying to see students from Kate Andrews High School coming out, that's just the kind of spirit Coaldale is based on."
Belinda Tomiyama, Canadian Blood Services Territory Manager in Lethbridge, says they really need people to give the gift of blood this holiday season.
"The local clinic needs more than 800 more people to book appointments in December. The week before, and the week after Christmas, there are 400 open appointments that we need to fill to keep with our patient demand," Tomiyama said.
"We're always asking businesses and organizations to book group appointments, and they can reach out to me to set something up," she continued, adding there's still patients in the hospital getting treatment while we're all celebrating with our families at this time of year, and they need blood.
Joe Michielsen, with the Kinsmen Club of Coaldale, says that he realized there was a need and became involved after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer.
"She had a bone marrow transplant, so I've got a personal connection, and a Kinsmen connection, to the whole blood drive. It was a natural fit for us when they came up with the Coaldale Cares Campaign to participate in it because we do things for the community," Michielsen said.
Anyone interested in donating blood, or to find out if you're eligible so you can book an appointment, can visit blood.ca.
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