Salmon Arm resident and avid blood donator Julie Funfer is upset with how there are currently no blood donation clinics available in the Shuswap. The nearest clinics are in Vernon and Kamloops. (File photo)

Blood donation stanched by distance to clinics

Salmon Arm donor upset there are no clincs in the Shuswap

Not being able to donate blood locally is enough to make Julie Funfer’s boil.

An avid blood donor since Grade 12, Funfer was disappointed to learn, after moving to Salmon Arm about a year ago, that the nearest blood donation clinics are in Vernon and Kamloops.

“I was trying to book an appointment time and that’s when I discovered I have to figure out an appointment time, when I can get off work and the 45 minutes to get there, and make sure I get there on time and then drive all the way back,” said Funfer, who has since taken to social media to voice her frustrations and hear what others have to say. “I started talking about it online because I thought, I can’t be the only one that’s frustrated with this. And speaking with other people, they were saying, ‘I know, I would donate blood if it was here.’”

Funfer also reached out to Canadian Blood Services, the organization that oversees the national blood donations program.

“Their justification was – the actual people I spoke to in the clinic said it cost too much money, and the PR reply was that it takes a lot of logistics. And I’m sure that comes down to the money part too,” said Funfer.

In response to a request from the Observer for information, Canadian Blood Services explained decisions around where and when they run blood clinics are based on a number of factors including the number of units of blood collected, labour and transportation costs, the distance and access to the nearest production site and the need to operate an efficient blood system.

“Canadian Blood Services works in a highly-regulated environment that demands that the blood we collect at our mobile clinics be delivered for manufacturing within a very tight time frame,” states Canadian Blood Services in an email. “Holding a clinic in a more remote location could impact our ability to ship the blood quickly to our manufacturing sites. Ultimately, logistical challenges mean that we must focus on collecting blood in more densely-populated areas.

“It is difficult for us knowing there are people in Salmon Arm, Sorrento and Sicamous who wish to donate blood but because of distance are unable to do so. However, please know that we consistently assess our ability to meet hospital and patient demand for blood and blood products. Should it ever become necessary to expand our mobile clinics to meet higher demand, we will make every effort to do so.”

The Canadian Blood Services put out a call for blood donations in March of this year, stating the national inventory was “critically low.” The organization put out a similar call in February. This only adds to Funfer’s frustration and makes her question, if the need is great, why Canadian Blood Services can’t be more accommodating now to Shuswap residents willing to give.

“What about all these people that may be willing to donate and don’t have a vehicle to get there or who have to work and you can’t take time off work to go give blood?” said Funfer. “It just doesn’t make sense… Why not even come to a one-day, full-day clinic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in a town like Salmon Arm and use a church or something that would give the space and be done with it? It’s one day. You still wouldn’t have to house anybody overnight.”

Funfer isn’t letting her frustration keep her from donating blood. She’s made an appointment to visit one of the Vernon blood clinics sometime in June.

“It’s something you can do to make a difference, to save a life,” said Funfer. “If somebody needs a blood transfusion, it could save a life. And so I think, OK, why not. I mean it hurts for a little bit – it may not really even hurt – I just think it’s a really easy and selfless thing to do.”


@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

North Okanagan-Shuswap fundraiser delivers for charities

Armstrong Regional Cooperative’s Fuel Good Day raises $10,000 in Vernon, Armstrong and Salmon Arm

Salmon Arm landfill accepts used oil and anti-freeze for recycling

Partnership with Oil Management Association opens recycling opportunities

Algae in Salmon Arm Bay dissipates

Testing by Interior Health indicates low levels to no toxins in the algae

Candidates begin run for a seat in the Shuswap

Races will take place in Salmon Arm, School District #83 and CSRD

Couple plans to live sustainable dream in Malakwa

The plan includes building a small zero-waste home at Cedars RV Park

Your morning news in 90: Sept. 20, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

Frustration and sheer exhaustion are building as thousands of people wait to go home seven days after the storm began battering the coast.

Vancouver councillors move ahead with policy for duplexes on detached home lots

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle.”

Canada’s goal is to play in a medal game at World Cup in Spain

The 2014 women’s world basketball championships were a coming out party for Canada.

World Anti-Doping Agency reinstates Russia

There was no mention of Russia publicly accepting a state-sponsored conspiracy to help its athletes win Olympic medals by doping.

Nanaimo’s Tilray pot stock continues rising, firm now worth more than $21 billion US

The B.C. company’s shares have risen more than 1,000 % since its initial public offering in July

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Most Read