On April 15, 2013, I had the joy of refreshing my screen a hundred times watching for the finishing times of friends who were running in Boston. As soon as I saw the last of my friend’s pass with a time of 4:06:30, I smiled and went and ran my errands. So it wasn’t until a little while later that I heard about the bombs. And then spent the rest of the afternoon frantically searching online for our friends. Right before I left work for the day, we got word from the last person we hadn’t heard from. Sigh.

I cannot imagine what it was like for those who were there, who were injured (physically, mentally) or who lost someone.

My first response was to dig out my donor card and go online to Canadian Blood Services to get the number to call and make an appointment. Turns out they have a new online service now. You can register and then make your own appointments online! I find this very convenient; I can have my calendar open and chose any available time slot at my local permanent clinic. 

Some terminology: a permanent clinic is just a clinic that is in a fixed location. In Toronto there are a few: 163 King St West (at King and University; this is where I usually go); 67 College Street (at College and Bay I think) and 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre). The 55 Bloor one is nice because it’s open on Saturdays.

A mobile clinic is when Canadian Blood Services sets up shop in an office tower, or a school or church hall. Usually it’s there for a day or two and people can often just walk in to donate (although appointments are preferred).

They usually take whole blood although they also have appointments for donating plasma and platelets. And if you’re worried about the whole idea of giving blood you can find a “what’s your type?” appointment – they prick you and tell you your blood type. I guess the idea being that you’ll see it’s not so bad after all. And there’s always juice and cookies afterwards.

Anyway, if you’ve never given blood, please give it a try; and if it’s been a while since you have, go check out the online appointment booking. I made three appointments, the first the week after the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon.


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