Graham's Corner

On Sept. 28, 2013 Canadian Blood Services celebrated its 15-year anniversary, a milestone that I’m extremely proud and humbled to be a part of. Looking back at our history, I’m amazed at the evolution that has taken place, from being an organization founded to restore public confidence in the blood system to one that strives for excellence as a manufacturer of biological products and is viewed as a trusted healthcare partner. As stewards of a safe, reliable and secure blood system, we contribute to the larger objective of delivering the best possible care to Canadians.

Our success is due in large part to the strong partnerships we established during our growth. At their foundation, these relationships began with the work of hundreds of corporations and community organizations nationwide who support our Partners for Life (PFL) program. As members of this lifesaving program, companies, government agencies, community groups, schools, service clubs, faith organizations and many others demonstrate their commitment to saving lives through donating blood, platelets and plasma. Last year, PFL members contributed more than 200,000 units of blood.

Our volunteers continue to be an integral part of Canada’s blood system. They donate their time, energy, enthusiasm and skills, supporting donors through the donation process and assisting us in immeasurable ways. In fact, the care and attention they give to everyone who enters a blood donor clinic is very often the key reason why many donors return.

These are just some of the visible partnerships. Behind the scenes, we have cultivated very important collaborations with our provincial and territorial governments as well as community and patient groups, with which we consult on an ongoing basis and in times of decision-making and policy change.

And speaking of the importance of partnerships, you may have heard of a fundraising event that took place at the end of last summer called #Climb4Cord. This involved myself and 24 people partnering together to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise money and awareness for Canada’s national public cord blood bank. Thanks to the support of many generous partners and sponsors along the way, we raised more than $350,000 for the Campaign For All Canadians. The cord blood bank program is critically dependent on partnerships, as exemplified by our partnering with hospitals in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton and Vancouver to collect cord blood samples, which are then processed in our Ottawa and Edmonton manufacturing sites.

As we look ahead to the coming years, we will continue to rely on communities, organizations, volunteers and individuals for their support. These partnerships have a direct impact on our ability to provide lifesaving products and services to Canadians and will continue to be one of our greatest assets.