Graham's Corner

Welcome to the summer/fall issue of Pulse magazine. Inside, you will read about the exciting developments that have taken place over the past few months including the launch of Canada’s first national public umbilical cord blood bank.

Numbers tell the story of healthcare needs in Canada: there are currently more than 900 patients waiting for a stem cell match, nearly 4,000 Canadians currently on a waitlist to receive an organ, more than 2,000 waiting for a cornea to restore their sight and every 60 seconds, someone in Canada needs blood.

Canadian Blood Services would not be in a position to take on other initiatives, like the running of a national cord blood bank, were it not for the expertise and knowledge that we have gained after more than 12 years of running a world-class blood system and we certainly would not be in this position without the dedication, hard work and generosity of our committed blood and stem cell donors, volunteers and employees.

This is why, each spring, we look forward to our Honouring Our Lifeblood events which take place in communities across the country to honour milestone donors and volunteers. They give us an opportunity to meet and personally thank the generous supporters of the blood system, without whom none of this would be possible.

Canadian Blood Services donors are some of the most committed in the world, making an average of nearly 2.2 donations each year compared to countries like the United States, the U.K. and Australia whose donors donate just under two times per year. We do, however, recognize that we cannot continue to rely on the same pool of dedicated donors, especially knowing that every year, we lose thousands of donors for various reasons such as health and travel. With that in mind, we have set a goal of recruiting 100,000 new blood donors and 30,000 new OneMatch registrants for this year.

In order to help accomplish this we are launching a new marketing campaign to change the way people think about blood donation. We want to create a new social movement that engages communities across Canada to come together to show that collectively, the act of donating blood can help save a life. We are calling this new campaign, “Rally Together to Save Lives” and over the coming months you will likely see references to it as we encourage communities to work together.

This is one of many initiatives underway to help meet Canada’s growing healthcare needs but once again, none of it would be possible without the support of Canadians. I encourage you to read about the exciting programs we are working on, become actively involved in the blood system and encourage others to do so as well. We need everyone’s collective voice to encourage a community-minded social movement in Canada that will ultimately lead to more lives saved.