Héma-Québec’s holiday campaign continues

Montréal, December 22, 2004 - With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, we invite the public to generously give blood as part of the campaign organized by Héma-Québec. Since December 2, over 15,300 people have given blood at the 100 blood drives held thus far. Share a unique gift is the theme of this year's campaign, which will continue until January 9, 2005. As part of this campaign, Héma-Québec will have organized some 175 blood drives with various community partners to receive 33,000 donors throughout Québec.

“ To give blood is to share a unique gift. This gift for the sick is anonymous, confidential and voluntary. Every 80 seconds, someone needs blood in Québec. During the holidays, we all have a role to play to maintain the blood reserve,” said Dr. Francine Décary, Chief Executive Officer of Héma-Québec.

Human blood continues to be a unique and irreplaceable product. Each donation can help save up to four lives. 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.

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.