There are many ways you can give to charity. Some people who have good jobs with steady income prefer to give money. Other people who are underemployed prefer to donate their time. But even if you don't have much spare money or time to donate, you still have something you can give to charity: blood. This guide should give you the information you need in order to donate blood in Canada.
You might think that donating blood doesn't make much of a difference, but it does. Each donation you make has the potential to save three people, and for some rare blood types it's even higher. People who are having surgery, are injured, are in need of a transplant, or are undergoing cancer treatment cannot survive without donated blood. In fact, the odds are one in two that you or someone you know will need donated blood in your lifetime. And all it takes is for you to leave your home for about an hour or so and go down to the blood clinic.
Blood collection in Canada is handled by the Canadian Blood Service. In the United States, many blood collection groups offer money in exchange for donations, but here in Canada donating blood is truly a charitable act. At Canadian Blood Services clinics, you can donate blood, plasma, platelets, or stem cells. Sometimes Blood Services will set up special clinics at schools, universities, community centers, or churches to serve groups. Each city also has at least one permanent clinic. You can find out where yours is and make an appointment to donate by calling 1-888-2-DONATE.
Giving blood is easy. All you have to do is show up. At the clinic, the volunteers will determine your blood type, give you an iron test to make sure you can handle donation, and give you a survey to fill out. Once you're finished, they'll insert a needle into your arm and let you watch TV or read a magazine until the bags are filled. Then they'll give you a cookie and some juice to help you get your strength back. Most people don't even feel faint afterward. You can donate again after 56 days.
There are some people who cannot give blood. If you're on medication, or have a disease, you cannot donate blood until you are cured. Trips to places that have substandard health care (like Africa) can also disqualify you, as can tattoos and sexual behavior that puts you at risk for catching an STD.