Burns Lake resident Rose Bergen has donated blood dozens of times since she started doing it several years ago.
“I have given over 30 pines of blood and I was very proud of that,” she said.
Bergen wanted to donate blood one last time before she retired, but she was told that the closest place for her to donate would be Kamloops, an eight-hour drive from Burns Lake.
She said that made her feel outraged.
“It’s disgusting, people need blood, we’re humans,” she said. “Why are they [Canadian Blood Services] on TV all the time asking for people to donate blood?”
The Canadian Blood Services has confirmed that Kamloops is now the closest place for Burns Lake residents to donate blood.
Although Prince George used to have a permanent location where people could donate blood, the clinic closed about a year and a half ago along with several other locations across Canada.
David Patterson, director of donor relations for the Canadian Blood Services in B.C. and Yukon, explained that the clinics closed due to a “decline in demand” for blood products, which allowed the Canadian Blood Services to cut down expenses and close some of their locations.
Patterson said one of the benefits of the closures has been an increase in blood quality since the blood is now collected in larger centres and can be delivered to patients in a shorter period of time. When blood was collected in Prince George, it would still need to be processed in the Lower Mainland before it could be delivered to hospitals up north.
Even though the demand for blood products has been declining over the years, Patterson said the Canadian Blood Services still encourages people to donate blood if they are in a city where it’s possible to donate.
According to the Canadian Blood Services, about 100,000 new donors are needed in Canada every year to meet demand.