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Flu season impacts blood donation at Maple Ridge church

113 people donated blood at Maple Ridge Alliance Church on Friday, Dec. 9
Doug Thomson gives blood for the 171st time at Maple Ridge Alliance Church on Friday, Dec. 9. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Numerous people failed to show up for their appointments at a blood donation event in Maple Ridge on Friday, Dec. 9.

Arleen Asi, the community development manager with Canadian Blood Services, who ran the recent collection event in Maple Ridge, said appointments were all booked up on Friday at Maple Ridge Alliance Church.

“However, winter cold and flu season is upon us and we are experiencing a high number of no-shows and cancellations,” Asi said.

There were 113 donations made at the event on Friday, however, the target for the event was 129 donations. In fact, at all events over the past two months in Maple Ridge, on average Canadian Blood Services secured 105 donations per event, however their target at each, again was 129.

Asi noted that late cancellations and missed appointments make it challenging to collect blood products.

“If you make an appointment, please try to keep it. If you are unable to make it to your appointment, please cancel it so we can find someone to take your place and consider rebooking as soon as possible,” she said.

Doug Thomson of Maple Ridge, donated for the 171st time, on Friday. He started donating blood in Grade 12.

“If I can do one good thing in my life, on a regular basis, it’s donating blood,” said Thomson, who tries to get in three donations a year. Most of his donations were for platelets.

It makes me feel good. I’m contributing,” said Thomson.

“Everybody should do it – if you can,” he said.

READ ALSO: Canadian Blood Services to end gay ‘blood ban,’ bring in behaviour-based screening

Christine Logan, another longtime donor from Maple Ridge, made her 83rd donation.

“It is important to donate blood to save lives,” noted Logan, who started giving blood in her early 20’s and now donates every two to three months.

Logan added, her blood type is B positive – which, she said, is not common – and makes her feel there is somebody out there who will be very happy to receive her blood.

And she advised the key to not feeling faint is to eat a good meal and drink at least 500 millilitres of water before you donate.

ALSO: 83-year-old Aldergrove man gives blood for the 200th time, saving 600 lives

Asi said donors in Maple Ridge are consistently supportive of donation events and book well. The next donation event on Friday, Dec. 23 is already fully booked.

However, she noted, even though appointments are required to donate, same day and open appointment spots are often available at donation events.

“Donors hold the key to saving lives this winter. The need for blood doesn’t take a holiday. Patients are counting on donors to restore and grow the blood and plasma supply heading into the winter months,” said Asi.

Currently Canadian Blood Services is looking for those who are AB negative, A positive, A negative, B negative, O positive and negative.

There are many open appointments available at upcoming donation events at Maple Ridge Alliance Church on Thursday, Jan. 5 and Friday, Jan. 6, as well as on Friday, Jan. 20 and Friday, Feb. 3.

To book an appointment go to

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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