According to the Government of Canada, half of all Canadians are healthy and fit to donate blood, but the sad reality is that only 1 in 60 gave blood last year. Blood donation takes an hour of your time, but could save someone’s life. Cancer patients, accident victims and people with blood disorders rely on blood transfusions every day. Blood donations are critical to helping support sick patients and emergency situations. Canadian Blood Services says that more regular donors are needed to maintain a strong national inventory of blood and blood products.
Canada’s organ donation rates are also lower than many countries, including the United States. Adding your name to the Organ and Tissue Donation Registry could also be the gift of life for someone in desperate need. According to the Canadian Transplant Society, over 1,600 Canadians are added to organ wait lists yearly and there are currently approximately 4,500 people in Canada waiting for the gift of an organ. A recent poll indicated that over 80 per cent of Canadians support organ and tissue donation, but less than 20 per cent have actually made plans to donate. One donor can benefit more than 75 people and save up to eight lives. It’s a simple as adding your name to the registry.
Here are four reasons why you should donate blood and become an organ donor:
It saves lives
Simply put, blood and organ donation saves lives. In fact, donating one unit of blood could save up to three lives. Adding your name to an Organ and Tissue Donation Registry could also mean saving and improving the lives of many others. You can donate your heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, kidneys and intestines, when you die. You can also make a living donation. This means you are willing to, for example, donate one of your kidneys to someone that needs it in order to live. When it comes to tissue donation, you can donate your corneas, skin, heart valves, bone, blood vessels and connective tissues, such as tendons.
Donors benefit from donating their blood too
Donating blood has been proven to help the donor’s vital organs and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, stroke and hemochromatosis, which occurs when too much iron builds up in your body. Regular blood donation allows the body to maintain a healthy level of iron. According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, iron may cause accelerated free radical damage in the body and may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. And last, but not least, after blood donation, your body works to replenish the blood loss therefore stimulating the production of new blood cells, which helps to maintain good health. As an added bonus, when you go in to donate blood, you also will receive a mini physical including blood pressure and cholesterol check.
There is a need for blood donors
There is a constant demand for blood and blood products including platelets, blood plasma and red blood cells. The Government of Canada says that it takes many donors to help save a hospital patient. For example, it takes up to five donors to save someone who needs heart surgery, and 50 donors to help save just one person who received grave injuries from a car accident. Eight donors a week can help someone going through treatment for leukemia.
Because you can
Canadian Blood Services emphasizes that half of all Canadians will either need blood or know someone who needs it. The need is constant. You should donate blood, simply because you can. Individuals who are healthy and fit are urged to consider regular blood donation. If you are unsure if you are a fit for blood donation, consult with your doctor or your local blood bank. Each province may have specific donor guidelines, so make sure to find out what they are!
Donating blood and becoming an organ donor has many life saving benefits. In exchange for some of your time, you could be saving the lives of many people, and one day, the person needing a blood transfusion or organ donation could be you. Consider regular blood donation and putting your name on the Organ and Tissue Donation Registry today!