Sunnybrook doctor praises blood donors at downtown Toronto clinic's grand opening

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

On April 23, 196 Canadians helped save the lives of van attack victims

(TORONTO) – Dr. Jeannie Callum, staff hematologist and director of transfusion medicine and tissue banks at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, has been busy in the wake of the tragic event that impacted Toronto just two weeks ago. However, last Friday, she spoke about the importance of having a stable, and reliable blood supply for all patients that rely on it. 

The grand opening of Canadian Blood Services’ permanent collection centre – what would have normally been a day of celebration – became a day to honour the blood donors who gave the gift of life to some of the victims of the April 23 van attack on Yonge street in Toronto.  

“The deliveries we receive from Canadian Blood Service two to three times per day are as critical to patient care as the oxygen that runs through the pipes to each patient’s bed,” said Dr. Jeannie Callum. “On April 23, we heard a code orange on the overhead speakers – meaning that there would be massive casualties coming to Sunnybrook – and our blood bank immediately went into action. We ended up having to bring in more blood from Canadian Blood Services’ Brampton facilities and from Toronto General Hospital, to continue supporting patients through trauma care and surgeries. In total, 196 Canadians helped save lives that day. I want to thank every single one of them,” Dr. Callum added. 

This past March, Canadian Blood Services opened its newest collection site: an eight-bed 4,200 square-foot central location that can accommodate up to 100 donors daily in a modern and inviting location. With up to 100,000 people passing by its entrance every day, this highly visible location near the subway entrance of both the Yonge and Bloor TTC lines, situated along the underground PATH, is one of three downtown Toronto permanent collection sites. 

Among the speakers present for the grand opening, Mel Cappe, chair of Canadian Blood Services’ board of directors, Graham Sher, chief executive officer, Canadian Blood Services, the Honourable Julie Dabrusin, MP for Toronto-Danforth, and Detective Sergeant David Ecklund, a blood recipient and bone marrow failure disease-survivor, all spoke about the lifesaving impact of blood donations.

“By the year 2020, we are hoping to collect 20,000 blood donations each year from this site alone,” said Dr. Graham Sher, chief executive officer, Canadian Blood Services. “I’m pleased to thank our dedicated donors, volunteers, and staff members in Toronto who have supported this transition to Yonge and Bloor. Without your support, our work would not be possible. We could not provide the lifesaving blood and blood products that literally save patients every day without you.”

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