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Canada’s Medical Students Roll Up Their Sleeves to Help Build Reserves

Ottawa, February 6, 2003 – The Canadian Federation of Medical Students (CFMS), in conjunction with Canadian Blood Services, will hold its fourth annual blood donor challenge from Feburary 10 to February 16, 2003. The challenge pits Canadian medical schools against one another to see who can give the most blood and involves medical students from across Canada, along with their family and friends.

Clinics will be held across the country and donations will be tracked using sign-in sheets. Over the last three years the challenge has brought in more than 3,100 units of blood. This year’s initiative is particularly significant as Canada’s blood system faces the challenge of building a reserve of blood products over the winter months to face the challenges West Nile virus will pose for the blood system as we approach the summer.

“We greatly appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students in raising awareness of the importance of blood donation,” said Dr. Graham Sher, CEO of Canadian Blood Services. “They make a difference now by helping us build our reserves and as future physicians by serving as role models of community commitment.”

In September 2001, Canadian Blood Services launched the “Roll up your Sleeves, Canada!” campaign to increase the number of regular blood donors to meet a projected need of one million units of blood per year by 2005. Currently, only about 3.5 per cent of eligible Canadians give blood. To reach our goal, we need about five per cent of the eligible population to give blood regularly.

“The CFMS is pleased to partner with the Canadian Blood Services, for our national medical student challenge ”, says Jesssica Guimond, an executive member of CFMS and challenge coordinator at Memorial University of Newfoundland. “Donating blood is a fundamental part of Canada’s health care system. This blood challenge is one way that we can raise awareness among Canadians of the need for blood donors, while strengthening the bonds between our members.”

Canadian medical students, faculty, staff, friends and family can locate a clinic convenient for them by calling 1 888 2 DONATE (1 888 236-6283), or visiting the Canadian Blood Services Web site at www.bloodservices.ca.

The CFMS is the voice of over 5,000 of Canada’s medical students, and is active in advocacy for a stronger health care system of tomorrow. The Federation encourages study of health care in rural and remote communities by sponsoring bursaries, and works closely with many other stakeholders to search for solutions to the challenges of meeting the health needs of Canadians for many years to come. Further information about the CFMS can be found at www.CFMS.org.

Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the blood supply in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec and operates the country’s Unrelated Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Canadian Blood Services operates 40 permanent collection sites and more than 10,000 donor clinics annually. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.bloodservices.ca.

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