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Giving blood can help save lives

First time donors are welcomed and encouraged to attend The Eastern Door’s 17th annual Blood Donor Clinic on October 31. (File photo, The Eastern Door)

The Eastern Door wants your blood this Halloween.

While staff has yet to transform into blood-sucking vampires, the Knights of Columbus hall will be taken over by Hema Quebec today  for our 17th annual Blood Donor Clinic.

The goal is to collect 75 pints of blood between 10:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to help Hema Quebec meet the needs of the hundreds of people throughout the province that require blood transfusions.

“It’s a humanitarian and civil gesture to give blood to make sure of that blood supply, and blood components that we need on a daily basis for any event of life that requires a transfusion,” said Laurent-Paul Ménard, a spokesperson Hema Quebec.

One donation is worth a lot.

“It’s a simple procedure when you look at it because it takes about an hour of yourtime, and at the end of the process, you will be able to potentially save up to three lives,” said Ménard.

“One donor never knows who you will help, but you can help anyone, and it’s kind of a vice versa situation where someone in every community throughout Quebec can benefit from those blood donations and they may come from the Eastern part of the province, from Kahnawake, or from Quebec City. It means that we’re all helping out each other in that mission.”

The organization is also currently recruiting First Nations to learn more information and to register for the province’s stem cell donor registry and population study.

“When you compare blood donation and stem cell donations, it’s two different stories. When someone has to get a stem cell graph, that person must have a match in DNA that takes into account ethnic background,” said Ménard.

“Here in Canada, we have a specific issue with some populations, that includes especially all the First Nations where there is really specific characteristics regarding their DNA, and that adds to the challenge of finding a compatible donor when we have to do research.”

Ménard said stem cell graphs are often done as a last resort treatment for those with severe cases of leukemia.

“It gives an extra chance for those who have gone through the usual medical process, but never the less didn’t have any success with those previous treatments,” he said.

Hema Quebec, in collaboration with the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC), submitted an application with the Onkwata’karitáhtshera Health and Social Services Research Council (OHSSRC) in June of 2016 to request that community members be included in the population study to determine the frequency of HLA (human leucocyte antigen), in addition to common and rare haplotypes of First Nations communities.

“The OHSSRC is mandated by Onkwata’karitáhtshera to oversee research/studies in the area of health and social services in Kahnawake to ensure that any and all research done in Kahnawake is in the best interest of the community,” said Karonhiaroroks Picard, Onkwata’karitáhtshera’s health programs liaison.

“Onkwata’karitáhtshera attended a project presentation and at that time it was agreed and decided that Onkwata’karitáhtshera would support Hema in this initiative by providing representation when needed at local blood donor clinics, and by helping to distribute project information.”

Tuesday will mark the 17th year that The Eastern Door has taken on organizing the event.

“It’s the least we can do as a community-minded newspaper.” said TED editor/publisher Steve Bonspiel.

“This is as important as donating time and money to worthy charities in town – if not more.”

Those eligible to donate blood must be at least 18 years of age, is in good health, and must not have received a tattoo or piercing in the last six months, among other eligibility criteria.

The eligible candidates to register for the stem cell donation registry must be aged between 18 and 35.

For more information of eligibility criteria to donate, check out the event’s advertisement on page 14 or visit Hema Quebec’s website.

jessicad@easterndoor.com
Jessica Deer
Jessica Deer is the deep-thinking, quick-witted (and perhaps heavily caffeinated) columnist. She began her career at The Eastern Door back in 2008 as a summer student. In addition to writing about youth leadership, ranting about Indigenous politics, as well as raising awareness of cultural appropriation issues in The Caffeinated Potadoe, Jessica has been a staff reporter since 2015 and does on-call layout and graphic design. She also updates the website, so if something is broken... it is probably her fault.
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