Need for blood reaches home for MP Lauzon

Cornwall Fire Department Captain Jeff Lauzon, left, donates blood, joined by Canadian Blood Services Volunteer Convener Bev Graham and MP Guy Lauzon (who is also Jeff's father). (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)
Cornwall Fire Department Captain Jeff Lauzon, left, donates blood, joined by Canadian Blood Services Volunteer Convener Bev Graham and MP Guy Lauzon (who is also Jeff’s father). (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – An MP-sponsored blood donor clinic is underway Tuesday at the Cornwall Civic Complex.

While he can’t donate blood because of treatment for an overproduction of iron, Lauzon knows personally about the need for donations.

His wife, Francis, recently needed eight units of blood in the last six weeks to treat a medical issue. “That really struck home how meaningful this clinic is,” Lauzon told Cornwall Newswatch.

“I agreed to this some time ago because as you know there’s a mayor’s blood donor clinic and I thought it would be appropriate that the MP have a blood donor’s clinic,” he said. “When they approached me about possibly sponsoring one I thought, yeah, this…is a way I can encourage for a few extra units to be donated,” Lauzon said.

Lauzon’s son, Jeff, was also there to donate blood as part of the emergency services challenge.

Canadian Blood Service’s Director of Donor Relations, Pamela Mullins, told Cornwall Newswatch it’s a careful balance making sure there’s a constant blood supply.

Mullins said they usually have 25,000 units on hand nation-wide but that number has slipped to 18,000 recently.

“While we all get the opportunity to enjoy time with our friends and family in this beautiful weather there is always a constant need for blood…the need for blood doesn’t take a vacation,” Mullins said.

A blood transfusion is needed every 60 seconds and demand for catastrophic events, like a car crash, can use up to 50 units. Heart attack victims can use roughly five units of blood.

“When we think of everybody sitting here in the chairs right now donating,” Mullins said pointing around the room, “that wouldn’t even cover one person. That’s why it’s so important to keep it continuing (the donations).”

Less than four per cent of eligible donors actually roll up their sleeve, which Mullins suggests may be due to shying away from restrictions.

“Yes, people do tend to shy away because of the fear of restrictions that are out there. What’s important to know is that every individual is so incredibly unique and that’s why we encourage people to call…and speak to their individual circumstance,” she said.

Mullins added that people who can’t donate can help CBS in other ways, such as speaking on the importance of donating.

She suggests, if you can spare an hour, stop by the clinic today (Tuesday). You can also call 1-888-2-DONATE or go to the Canadian Blood Services website.

The clinic continues from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. tonight at the civic complex.

CBS Volunteer Convener Beverley Graham said Cornwall is one the best-attended clinics in the region and has the best group of volunteers. The clinic appointment slots were 98 per cent filled at midday.

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