Some fun stuff in here! great thread! Okotoks blood donor clinics saving lives
By Don Patterson
Something as simple as donating half-a-litre of blood can mean the difference between life and death for some people and that means Okotoks resident Dixie Navratil may have personally saved hundreds of lives.
Not only does she donate blood whenever she is eligible, Navratil has also played a significant role as a volunteer coordinator for the numerous successful blood clinics held in town each year, many of which are held at the Okotoks Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where she is a member.
According to Navratil, the clinics’ success hinges on the people who regularly come out to donate blood.
“If those people didn’t deem it necessary… it wouldn’t work at all,” she said.
Two blood clinics are scheduled to be held in town next month: the first on Feb. 3 at the Church of Latter Day Saints and the second on Feb. 24 at John Paul II Collegiate. Both clinics will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Navratil said the Okotoks clinics have been well attended — even by those whose lives have been saved by blood donations.
At one event, she said a woman who received a blood transfusion told people how her life was saved by blood donations.
“Everybody looked and listened and tears were shed by a lot of people that day, because it let them know exactly how important their blood is,” said Navratil.
Okotoks residents have saved a lot of lives over the years.
Candace Korchinsky, Canadian Blood Services spokeswoman, said 1,060 units of blood were collected in town since April and they are on-track to beat the 1,100 units donated in 2007-08.
“We like to tell people that each unit of blood will help save up to three lives. So that’s about 3,180 lives saved in the past year in Okotoks,” she said. “That’s actually pretty amazing.”
The goal for the February clinics is to get 88 units at each event. One unit is the amount taken from a person when they donate blood and is equal to just under half a litre.
Twelve clinics are held in town each year, roughly one per month. Korchinsky said they chose to hold two in town in February because they are confident they will get enough donors to attend.
Korchinsky said they typically get good attendance at blood clinics in smaller communities because there are no permanent clinics in most towns.
“Because there’s not a clinic there everyday, they really tend to support the clinics and come out when they come to town,” she said.
One in two Canadians are eligible to donate, but only one in 60 do.
To be able to donate blood, a person must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health, however, other criteria could prevent a person from being able to donate. A full list of criteria regulating who can donate is available on the group’s website at Canadian Blood Services - Société canadienne du sang
. To book an appointment to donate blood at one of the clinics, call 1-800-2Donate (1-800-236-6283).