33,000 blood donors expected during Héma-Québec’s holiday campaign

Montréal, December 2, 2004 - Under this year's theme of Share a unique gift, Héma-Québec's holiday season campaign will take place from December 2, 2004 to January 9, 2005. During this time, Héma-Québec hopes to welcome 33,000 blood donors at the some 175 blood drives that will be organized in co-operation with community partners throughout Québec.

Héma-Québec would like to remind the public that, during the holiday season, the need for blood is constant. “At this time of the year, Quebeckers are invited to share the unique gift of health. Each blood donation is a present beyond compare for those who need to receive transfusions,” said Dr. Francine Décary, Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec. Among the blood drives with the highest objectives should be noted that of the City of Montréal on December 7, when 1,075 donors are expected, and the TQS Québec drive on December 15, which has a target of 350 donors.

Human blood continues to be a unique and irreplaceable product. Each donation can help save up to four lives. Every 80 seconds, someone needs blood in Québec. Any healthy individual who satisfies Héma-Québec's criteria can give blood every 56 days, namely six times per year.

It should be noted that, as of October 31, 2004, there is no upper age limit for giving blood in Québec. In order to ensure the safety of blood donors, specific age criteria must be respected. Donors between the ages of 67 and 70, inclusively, who have not given blood in the last two years, as well as new donors who are 61 or older, must provide a letter from their physician certifying that they are in good health and fit to give blood. Donors who are 71 or older must also provide a letter from their physician each year certifying that they are fit to give blood. Those who are affected by these criteria can obtain a form letter on the Héma-Québec Web site at www.hema-quebec.qc.ca, at blood drives, at GLOBULE blood donor centres or by calling 1 800 847-2525.

Since it was founded in September 1998, Héma-Québec has welcomed more than 1,800,000 blood donors at 12,000 blood drives organized in co-operation with community partners throughout Québec. On average, Héma-Québec delivers some 400,000 blood products to hospitals each year in order to meet patients' needs.

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.