Canadian Blood Services says it's seen a drop in donations across Newfoundland and Labrador this year, and is encouraging new donors to roll up a sleeve.
"We're actually 11 per cent behind our goal and we're almost at the end of February — and our year goes from the first of April to the end of March," said Peter MacDonald, Donor Relations Director for Atlantic Canada.
MacDonald said the province has one of the highest numbers when it comes to frequency of donations, but the donor base is aging.
'We need to engage new donors to meet those [new] targets.' - Peter MacDonald, Donor Relations Director for Atlantic Canada
"Also the fact that we have the outmigration of a lot of our donors over the last number of years, and certainly we see that in some of the communities off the peninsula," he said.
"When we were going to a Marystown, a Clarenville, a Gander, for example, the targets that we were going to collect in those communities five and 10 years ago are larger than what we can expect to collect today."
MacDonald said that while clinics have gotten smaller in recent years, he believes they have been "right-sized" to match the population in those areas.
"Now we need to engage new donors to meet those targets."
Bring a friend
While it's possible that closures in Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook have contributed to the low numbers, MacDonald said it's unlikely as mobile clinics make stops in 39 communities across the province.
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He said the province aims to be self-sufficient so that it doesn't have to rely on the national inventory when blood is needed.
"We've introduced an app, the Give Blood app that you can download to your phone, so hopefully we're engaging the next generation of donors that way," said MacDonald.
Groups visits are also being encouraged at clinics. MacDonald hopes community groups and colleagues will start motivating their peers to start donating.