To date, 35,000 people have carried the torch

Montréal, Tuesday, July 27, 2004-During the summer holidays, the public is invited to donate blood generously. Since June 14, when the This summer, carry the torch campaign started, Héma-Québec and its community partners have welcomed 35,000 blood donors at some 200 blood drives organized throughout Québec. Until September 5, several blood drives will be held, particularly at campgrounds and in shopping malls, in order to reach out to vacationers.

Héma-Québec and the people of Québec have a common interest in maintaining the blood reserve at an acceptable level. This is a daily challenge, particularly during the summer, said Dr. Francine Décary, Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec. She pointed out that, every day, Héma-Québec counts on the participation of hundreds of blood donors and volunteers who donate their time to provide the blood components needed by patients in Québec hospitals.

Before it is delivered to hospitals in Québec, the blood collected by Héma-Québec is separated into the various components that make up blood : red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. This is why we say that one single donation can help save up to four lives. Platelets can be kept for 5 days, packed red blood cells can be stored for 42 days, plasma is stored for 12 months and the cryoprecipitate lasts for 12 months. Every year, Héma-Québec delivers an average of 400,000 blood products to hospitals.

It should be noted that Héma-Québec has a test to screen for West Nile Virus (WNV) in donated blood. A telephone information service for people with questions about the effect of WNV on blood is also available from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The number to dial is 1 877 VNO-HÉMA (1 877 866-4362).

Created in September 1998, Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes and human tissues to meet the needs of all Quebeckers; and to provide and develop expertise and services, along with specialized and innovative products, in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.