Blood donations and organ & tissue registration on the rise

By Brittney Matejka - CHAT News
April 14, 2018 - 6:08am Updated: April 15, 2018 - 4:05am

MEDICINE HAT - Many Canadians have been looking for some way to help following the tragic bus crash of the Humboldt Broncos in Saskatchewan.

The GoFundMe page for the victims of the accident has raised over $11 million with people donating from over 65 countries around the world.

Belinda Tomiyama with Canadian Blood Services said they have seen an increase in blood donations since the weekend, compared to this time last year across the prairie provinces.

“The week of April 8th to the 11th we had an increase of 226 (blood) donations,” she said.

There is a constant need for blood donations across Canada, said Tomiyama.

You never know when it's going to be you or someone you love who needs blood,” she said. “Less than four percent of the population donates.”

Tomiyama said blood banks are vital, especially when there is a serious incident.

“It takes many donors to save one person,” she said. “Someone who has been in a severe car accident with internal bleeding (may need) up to 50 people donating blood to save their life.”

The Alberta Organ & Tissue Program has also seen an increase in the number of Albertans registering for donation. In the past 4 days, the registry has received 10,744 new registrations for organ/tissue donation, on average this same time frame only generates 1,140 new registrants in the province.

Ryan Baht a donor coordinator at the Calgary Foothills Hospital said they want people to think critically about organ donation.

“I do encourage people to make the decision on donation and let there family know,” he said. “If something was to happen to them their family wouldn't be faced with uncertainty over a really important question.”

Baht said there are a number of ways a person can register to be an organ and tissue donor, including signing the back of their Alberta Health Care card, going on online or asking at a registry office. He also explained it’s important to have the conversation with your family if you are interested in helping save a life.

“If they have registered that they would like to donate then we are honouring their wishes and their legacy to be known as a donor,” he said. “They (are) helping the people they want to help.”

A donor could save up to eight lives through organ transplants and up to 75 people with tissue donation.

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