Hugh Wilzewski gives the gift of life at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on Saanich Road. Wilzewski has donated blood more than 70 times in his life and says it’s a very rewarding way to spend an hour. Dan Ebenal/News Staff

Canadian Blood Services clinic a lifeline in times of crisis

Saanich clinic sees about 100 donors a day

Donors walking through the doors of the Canadian Blood Services clinic on Saanich Road know they’ll be making a big difference in the lives of people they have never met, half a litre at a time.

“I try to get in here every 56 days,” said Hugh Wilzewski as he catches up on the news while his blood is collected.

The Central Saanich man estimates he has donated more than 70 times over the course of his life.

“It’s a bit of public service,” Wilzewski says of the hour-long process involved in donating blood. “I think it’s a worthwhile civic duty, you’re helping a lot of people.”

Ann Chabert, the territory manager with Canadian Blood Services, says the Saanich clinic has a target of collecting from about 100 donors, on average, a day.

“There is no alternative. We can’t make blood. If a patient goes to the hospital in need of surgery after a car crash or there’s someone who needs cancer treatment, and there’s blood needed for almost everything,” said Chabert, adding a national inventory allows blood to be directed to region’s where it’s needed most.

“It has to be safe, it has to be available and it has to be free. And we’re the only supply in Canada.”

While Canadian Blood Services reaches out to all Canadians to make a donation, those with O- blood are particularly needed.

“They’re called the universal donors,” said Chabert. “Especially in an emergency when they don’t have time to type the blood of the patient, they use O-. That’s the easiest blood type, but it’s only seven per cent of the population. So those people get a lot of calls from us.”

The clinic at 3449 Saanich Rd. is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and alternating Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Mondays, the clinic operates a mobile donation unit that travels to communities across the South Island.

“We prefer that people make an appointment because that gives us a bit of a heads up on how the day’s going to go. Some days are busier, some hours are busier,” said Chabert. “But if you have no time and you just want to see and walk in and risk it, you’re more than welcome.”

Over the past month donors have been encouraged to fill out cards sending messages of support to cancer patients in recognition of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil campaign.

Chabert said the Saanich clinic is run through the efforts of hundreds of committed volunteers.

“We have some people who can’t donate, and that’s an alternative. If you can’t donate you can come out and volunteer.”

And Chabert has some words of comfort for those who say they’re afraid of needles.

“Just give it a try, it really is just a poke,” she said, adding the hour it takes is worth the effort. “I think that’s a [small sacrifice] to save somebody’s life.”

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Province now allowing tent city campers to stay at Goldstream Park

Contrary to earlier reports, Ministry of Environment says there is no hard deadline for campers to leave, park open to public

Saanich offers land for housing for the homeless

Unclear many units of supportive housing the province will build in Saanich

B.C. seniors use antipsychotics more than any other province

One out of four residents is receiving antipsychotics without a supporting diagnosis

MISSING: 26-year old Victoria man Gregory Partington

Partington was last see on September 19

Religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their permissive tax exemptions

Non-profit organizations including religious institutions in Saanich may have to justify their… Continue reading

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Driver’s warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Saanich mayoral candidates prepare for first roundtable

Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Fred Haynes will be among four mayoral candidates at Thursday’s forum

Former VP of lululemon joins B.C. cannabis cultivation facility

Kerry Biggs will be the Chief Financial Officer of True Leaf, in Lumby

Could cannabis help keep people in B.C. on treatment for opioid addiction?

People on opioid agonist treatment face lower risks of overdosing, BC Centre on Substance Use says

Around the BCHL – Trail Smoke Eater grad to captain NCAA Michigan Tech Huskies

Around the BCHL is a regular look at the BCHL and goings-on throughout the junior A world.

Thieves escape after man claims his wife is giving birth

RCMP searching for suspects in brazen daytime break in

Rural Canada Post carriers could see 25-per-cent pay hike: spokesman

An arbitrator has released a ruling in a long-standing pay equity dispute at Canada Post

7th day of searching for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts are concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Freeland brings optimism back to NAFTA talks

NAFTA talks resume in Washington

Most Read