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Volunteers willing to help run blood drives in Grande Prairie

A local paramedic is making a push to make blood donations possible in Grande Prairie again. Doug Christian says he’s been in touch with more than 30 other medical professionals who want to help out by getting the training needed to run a clinic.

“These colleagues are willing to volunteer their time in order to help Canadian Blood Services facilitate a clinic in town, whether it be volunteering to register donors, whether it be starting the blood donations themselves; as medical professionals, they’re all qualified to do so.”

Canadian Blood Services hasn’t brought a mobile clinic to Grande Prairie since 2011, largely due to the costs associated with everything from wages to transportation and hotel stays. Christian believes having locals do the work for free would help make it possible for GP to donate a few times a year.

“I think definitely that would reduce some of the costs because we’d have people in the community who come in, do the event, and then can come home and there’s no cost for travel, accommodation, food that would have to normally be paid when the staff are coming from Edmonton.”

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Potentially all that would be needed to send up would be the truck and a technician or two.
Christian adds they could fundraise what would be needed for the training, so CBS standards would be followed.

“If we had some buy in from some local companies, they would be able to volunteer or donate some of that money so we could have Canadian Blood Services come up in to Grande Prairie and provide the requisite training so that everything was being done as per their requirements.”

CBS Communications Specialist Deb Steele-Kretschmer says where mobile clinics are run is based on a number of factors along with cost, including how many units will be collected, the distance from the nearest production site, and the need to be as efficient as possible. For the time being, residents are encouraged to give when in bigger city centres, and tell their friends and family to do the same.

Christian has started an online petition to get a blood donation centre in Grande Prairie. Every signature sends an email to Territory Manager of Donor Relations for Alberta & Saskatchewan Robyn Westbrook and Chief Executive Officer Graham Sher.

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