Queen’s club hosts Kingston blood drive during shortage

Muslim Medical Association of Queen’s teams up with Canadian Blood Services

Muslim Medical Association of Queen's.
Photo supplied by Shaimaa Helal
The Muslim Medical Association of Queen’s (MMAQ) took over the Canadian Blood Services clinic in Kingston on Dec. 28 to help combat the seasonal decline of blood donations.
Ahead of donation day, the group organized a six-week awareness campaign that aimed to disprove common myths about blood donation. During this time, they designed and distributed flyers and infographics about the process of blood donation throughout Kingston, focusing on the Muslim community. The campaign helped attract 30 donors on Dec. 28.
“The goal of the campaign was to address concerns Muslims have about blood donations, debunk myths, and mobilize the Muslim community to donate blood,” said Shaimaa Helal, on behalf of MMAQ.
It was timely: in early December, Canadian Blood Services issued a nationwide appeal for donations in anticipation of the shortage. 
Blood donations are a critical part of medical care, vital to surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatments, and the management of diseases. Each week, Canadian Blood Services needs to collect 17,000 units of blood to meet hospital demand. 
During the winter months, weekly donations to the blood bank generally decreases and the amount of blood available for medical use dips. Canadian Blood Services experiences the shortage annually, as regular blood donors often become unavailable during the holiday season. 
In November, MMAQ was awarded an Aesculapian Society Initiatives Grant which provided the fumds necessary to implement a blood donation campaign in Kingston.
The group contacted Canadian Blood Services for more information on how to get involved, and were informed the organization was experiencing a decline in donations entering the winter season. 
With the opportunity to address the decline in donations, MMAQ chose to use their grant to raise awareness for the blood-shortage issue and operate the blood drive on behalf of Canadian Blood Services.
They also organized transportation services for anyone interested in donating blood, arranging pickups from publicly accessible locations—including the Islamic Society of Kingston—offering special pickups for those  further from the donation centre. 
On the day of the event, Kingston residents attended the clinic to donate blood under the organization of MMAQ members. 
The blood was promptly transported to Ottawa where it was used in the days to follow.
Following their campaign, the Muslim Medical Association of Queen’s developed a formal partnership with Canadian Blood Services with the vision of continuing the tradition and combatting seasonal declines in blood collection. 
“30 Kingstonians came out that day to donate blood and were gifted a ‘Proud Blood Donor’ t-shirt for their service,” Helal told The Journal. “The Muslim Medical Associaton of Queen’s now has a partnership with Canadian Blood Services and hopes to host this event annually.”

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