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From Where I Sit

It may be in you to give, but....

When I first moved here, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed.

I am a blood donor. It is something that I regularly do. Or rather, it is something that I try to do regularly.

A person can donate blood every 56 days. I used to be one of those people that did. Every two months, I would head down to the blood donor clinic and spend an hour of my time donating blood. It was time that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You see, I am a believer that everyone who is able should donate blood. I understand that there are certain medical conditions that prevent people from donating blood. I have also heard others say their fear of needles is the reason why they don't donate. And I truly realize that a person can't do it all. But blood donations save lives.

The hour that I would spend at the donor clinic was time well spent.

Besides the fact that my donation of blood would be put to good use, I really enjoyed the atmosphere. Sitting in one of the 10 stations, I was surrounded by people who cared enough for others to take an hour out of their day and donate blood, blood that would possibly save the life of someone else. Sitting in that chair, I was surrounded by people who knew the importance of giving.

Not only that, but the atmosphere was always fun. There was the nurse who had the rainbow wedding who always wore chunky jewellery that spanned the colour chart. There was the 35-year-old donating blood for the first time, alongside the 17-year-old that was doing the exact same. There was always smiles on the faces of donors and nurses alike.

But things have changed. I now live in an area where the closest blood donor clinic is 70 kilometres away. And not only that, but the clinic is a mobile clinic. So, instead of being able to make an appointment, I end up waiting in hopes that a clinic will be scheduled that doesn't conflict with what is already in my schedule. I cross my fingers and I hope.

And honestly, lots of times the clinics do conflict with my schedule. Since I have moved here, I have donated blood in Brandon more times than I have donated blood here.

I receive a call from Canadian Blood Services every 56 days to remind me that it is time to donate. And every time I hear from them, I tell them where I live, and see where and when the next available clinic is. And every time, I mention how nice it would be to have a mobile clinic swing by Carlyle once a year.

But the response from Canadian Blood Services is quite simple. The decision is based on criteria such as staffing, logistics, and cost efficiency. And while Carlyle has been considered in the past, a clinic in Carlyle has not been found to be feasible.

How can that be? To meet their target this month, the Canadian Blood Services requires more than 4,600 blood donations. In addition, towns with less than 500 people living in them offer clinics throughout Canada. The need is definitely there, and the people are definitely here.

Maybe it is simple. Maybe there are not enough donors in this area. Or maybe there have not been enough donors show an interest in having a clinic in Carlyle area.

To be honest, I will drive an hour to donate blood. I will drive that hour time and time again. But, there are people that cannot schedule three hours into their day to drive somewhere to donate blood.

A mere four percent of the population donates blood. There are plenty of reasons out there as to why people don't donate, but the availability of clinic shouldn't be one of them.

So, next time you get a call from Canadian Blood Services, let them know that it sure would be nice to see a clinic here in the Carlyle area. There are people in this area that want to donate blood. And there are people, one every 60 seconds, that require it.

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