How often have you heard that call go out?
Canadian Blood Services (CBS) is in need of a certain type of blood — generally O-negative — to combat a blood shortage or at times, a need for a special or rare blood type.
Ironically, those who don’t give blood on a regular basis may not know what their blood type is, thus don’t have a chance to help to save someone’s life — not only here in Newfoundland and Labrador — but globally.
Knowing your blood type is vital for two reasons. It allows doctors to know what your blood type to determine who you can donate blood to and receive blood from.
Finding out your blood type is not difficult. Anyone 17-years or older can go to a blood services typing event, they prick your finger, take a few droplets of blood, it gets mixed with a substance called antisera and this determines your blood type.
This process takes about two-minutes to complete.
There are eight main blood types organized from a combination of two systems: ABO blood types (A, B, O, AB) and Rh type (positive or negative). These eight blood types are: O-positive, O-negative, A-positive, A-negative, B-positive, B-negative, AB-positive, and AB-negative.
The O-negative blood type is considered to be the universal basepoint as it can be used in any emergency situation as the red blood cells contained in O-negative blood can be used when there is no time to test a patient’s blood type.
People with type AB-positive (AB+) are considered universal recipients for red blood cells as they can receive them from any other blood type donor.
The surface of red blood cells contains proteins called antigens. There are more than 600 known antigens — and some combinations of antigens are far less common than others.
The highest percentage of blood type in Canada is O-positive, coming in at approximately 39 per cent, which is why there is the greatest need for type O blood.
The least common type is AB-negative (AB-), less than one per cent of the population has it.
Whenever a blood transfusion is required, time is of the essence. But if someone in need has rare blood, finding a matching donor can be hard. Through the Rare Blood Program, CBS makes sure lifesaving rare blood is available to patients whenever and wherever it’s needed.
CBS manages the national supply of blood, blood products and stem cells, and related services for all the provinces and territories (excluding Quebec).
It also leads an integrated, interprovincial system for organ donation and transplantation for all of Canada.
Canadian Blood Services operates Canada’s blood supply in a manner that gains the trust, commitment and confidence of all Canadians by providing a safe, secure, cost-effective, affordable and accessible supply of quality blood, blood products and their alternatives.
Canadian Blood Services is one of the Health and Allied Services in St. John’s, located at 7 Wicklow St.
Contact a representative of Canadian Blood Services at 709-758-5300 for all of your queries.
Making an appointment to donate is easy and can be done at blood.ca, by downloading the GiveBlood app or calling 1-888-2-DONATE and find a nearby donation site.
Walk in appointments are also available at this and all locations.
The Telegram has partnered with Canadian Blood Services on its annual Telegram Saves Lives initiative to help garner donations.
This is the ninth year The Telegram has supported the program and has helped bring in more than 1,000 donations in the program’s history.
When to donate
Canadian Blood Services location at 7 Wicklow St., in St. John’s is open for donations as follows:
Tuesday: 3-7 p.m.
Wednesday: 3-7 p.m.
Thursday: 9-3 p.m.
Friday: 9-1 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.