It Takes All Types


by Jennifer Bean, RPhT

It’s January, did you make (or maybe even break) a new year’s resolution?

This year, I decided to make one, and it’s to become a blood donor! As Canadian Blood Services’ (CBS) catch phase says “It’s in you to give!” and I think this is a resolution that I will be able to keep because it’s not something I have to do every day, only every 84 days (men can donate every 56 days)!

To find out if you are eligible to donate blood, please visit CBS website at

Also, January is Blood Donor Month (at least in the USA), and below are some interesting facts about blood donation.

#1) The volume of one unit of blood is approximately 450 mL, this represents about 1/10th of all blood in the body. [3]

#2) The plasma from a blood donation is replaced by your body within 24 hours. [4]

#3) A single blood donation can save up to three lives. Donated blood can be separated into three different components: red blood cells, plasma, and platelets. These three components can go on to contribute to the recovery of three separate people – explaining how one unit can save three lives. [5]

#4) One victim of a motor vehicle collision can require up to 50 units of blood. That means up to 50 donors contribute to saving the life of someone who has been involved in a car crash! Treatment for leukemia can require up to 8 units of blood per week. Patients undergoing heart surgery can need up to 5 units of blood during the procedure. [6]

#5) Your blood type determines who you can donate to, and who you can receive blood from. People with type O- are universal donors, and people with type AB+ are universal recipients. See the chart below, assembled by Héma-Québec, to learn more about your blood type! [7]


#6) The most common blood type in Canada is O+. About 39% of Canadians have O+ blood, which is why type O blood is most needed in Canada. However, O+ isn’t the most common blood type in every country. For example, A+ is the most common blood type in several countries, including Portugal, Sweden, and Turkey. B+ is the most common blood type in some countries as well, including Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. [9]

#7) On average, blood donations takes 8-10 minutes. A full appointment can take up to an hour, due to prescreening and post observation. A small amount of you time can make a big difference. [8]

#8) Half of all Canadians will need blood at some point in the lives, yet only 4% of Canadians donate blood.[9]

So what do you think, is it in you give?