News / Winnipeg

Manitoba blood donors in dire need over the holidays

Canadian Blood Services currently has more than 4,000 open appointments in December.

Ryder Robinson was diagnosed with leukemia at eight months old, he's pictured here with his mother, Christine Guyader.

Christine Guyader/Contributed

Ryder Robinson was diagnosed with leukemia at eight months old, he's pictured here with his mother, Christine Guyader.

At four-and-a-half years old, Ryder Robinson has likely endured more needle pricks than most will encounter in a lifetime.

The Balmoral, Man.-based boy was diagnosed with leukemia at eight months old and has undergone more than 100 blood transfusions and a bone marrow transplant, his mom Christine Guyader said.

These days, he’s relatively healthy and scheduled for the occasional check-in with CancerCare Manitoba.

Ryder’s mom described him as “super outgoing and funny… just a normal little four-year-old boy who loves hockey.”

But without blood donations from strangers, she said he wouldn’t have survived.

“I don’t know that people totally understand how much they can be helping someone. Until you’ve gone through something or seen someone in chemotherapy or seen someone who’s been in a car accident, to just know how dire it is for people to donate,” Guyader said. “It takes an hour of your day to go and do it and it can drastically change (someone’s life). If there wasn’t blood products, Ryder wouldn’t be alive.”

Though most everyone’s calendars are soon to be chock-full, Canadian Blood Services is hoping Manitobans make time to donate blood in December — traditionally one of the hardest months of the year to recruit new donors.

“Typically we find that in December the need for blood does go up because a lot of our regular donors are busy with family events or holidays, while we are still open,” said Patricia Bal, Manitoba’s territory manager for Canadian Blood Services.

“We need to collect just over 5,000 units for the month of December and right now we still have just over 4,000 open appointments.”

The push to secure first-time donors is great after iron eligibility requirements recently changed, meaning women need to wait 12 weeks between donations rather than the previous eight, Bal said.

Canadian Blood Services has streamlined the sign-up process with a new GiveBlood app where you can find the nearest clinics, book appointments and be sent reminders to donate. The same info is available at blood.ca.

“It’s super selfless and you don’t know who you’re helping,” said Guyader, who’s become a regular donor since her son’s health scare. “If (Ryder) can be eight months old and get five million pokes to have cancer treatments, then you can get one to help someone.”

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