A state-of-the-art GLOBULE Blood Donor Clinic has opened its doors in Kirkland, and a West Island Man is urging his fellow community members to donate. The clinic, which facilitates whole blood donation, plasma donation, and platelet donation is located at 16993, route Transcanadienne and is actively booking appointments.
Dr. Ross Andersen, a professor in the Faculties of Kinesiology and Medicine at the University of McGill proudly celebrated his 300th donation on May 17th. The tally began in 2007 when he moved back to Montreal. Andersen’s long-standing journey with blood donation was catapulted in 2001 when his father-in-law was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and needed platelets.
According to Héma-Québec, in comparison to the 6 whole blood donations a person can make annually, that same person can make up to 36 platelet donations in the span of one year. If that weren't enough, it takes five whole blood donations to obtain the same amount of platelets that would be retrieved through an isolated platelet donation. As Dr. Andersen recalls, “there was one time where I was matched with a young child and was asked to come in several times over the span of a month.” The chances of rejection by the recipient are exponentially less likely when the platelets are transfused from a single donor.
When Ross Andersen first began donating platelets over fifteen years ago, getting to a clinic that facilitated the specialized donation was more of a hassle. Now, West-Islanders have a center quite literally in their backyard.
“I would encourage anyone - who feels they can give a little extra time - to donate platelets. As patients get sicker, they require a much more precise match.”
Unfortunately, with CEGEP, University and other community drives unable to take place due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Héma-Québec is all the more dependent on donations made by appointment in their facilities. Dr. Andersen, who hosted an annual blood drive in the Sir Arthur Currie Memorial Gymnasium prior to March of last year says his event alone yielded 300 units of blood for each day the event was running. You can certainly imagine how these kinds of numbers across the province have affected the influx of donations overall.
“I like to encourage my students to do good for the community, but it’s been really hard.”
For platelet donation, the biggest piece of advice Dr. Andersen has for you is to plan ahead. Pack your iPad, a good book, or come prepared with your favorite podcast on your smartphone. Because platelet donation takes more time than whole blood donation, Héma-Québec sees markedly fewer platelet donors, even though the need for them is arguably greater.
Whether it’s your first donation or your 300th, if you are in a position to donate, Ross Andersen, his fellow donors, and all those in need of transfusions encourage you to do so.
For more information and to book an appointment, visit https://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/index.en.html