Peace Region blood not wanted

"It's in you to give," but not in the Peace Region.

Despite an ever-growing population, blood donation is an impossibility without travelling to Prince George or Alberta.

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"I don't even have [Fort St. John] on my list," said the Canadian Blood Services employee who answered the call to their toll free number. "I'm not seeing Dawson Creek now either."

Lisa Libin, public affairs manager in western Canada for Canadian Blood Services, confirmed there are no clinics in Fort St. John or Dawson Creek "at this point in time."

"Canadian Blood Services carefully reviews the locations of all their clinics," Libin said.

"These decisions are based on current hospital demand, cost containment and ways to introduce more consistency in our ability to supply hospitals with donated blood," she continued.

While mobile clinics are designed to accommodate smaller and more rural populations, there are none in the Peace Region.

"We do have mobile clinics in other parts of B.C. where there is a larger population to draw from."

The population of the Peace hovers around 60,000 people, many of whom would be capable of giving blood.

"We look at a variety of areas for mobile clinics, but again, the decision is based on current hospital demand, cost containment and ways to introduce more consistency in our ability to supply hospitals with donated blood," said Lipin.

The Canadian Blood Services (CBS) website states that: "Approximately every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood."

A recent poll, highlighted on the organization's website, noted that 52 per cent of Canadians say they, or a family member, have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment.

Each blood donation represents one unit of blood, according to the site.

An automobile accident, on average, requires 50 units of blood, while a person with leukemia requires eight units per week.

"We do have a clinic in Prince George," Libin said. "That clinic is open two days per week, plus one Saturday a month."

Prince George is 437 kilometres from Fort St. John.

When hospitals require blood, it is delivered from CBS.

"The blood is delivered to the hospitals in a variety of ways, depending on the need," said Lipin. "This could include greyhound bus or airplane, as the mode of transportation is determined by the urgency of the need."

Fort St. John City Councillor and local historian Larry Evans said there used to be mobile blood clinics.

"That used to be quite a thing," he recalled. "They travelled all over.

"I remember in the '70s up until about '83, they came every year it seemed," said Evans. "It was the Red Cross."

The CBS was formed in the late 1990s as a not-for-profit, charitable organization whose sole mission is to manage the blood and blood products supply for Canadians.

Northern Health was contacted but refused to comment.

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