The rain didn’t dampen last week’s gathering of former donors and staff from the Thunder Bay Plasma Donor clinic. Canadian Blood Services closed the clinic April 12 after two weeks’ notice, claiming they had a Canada-wide surplus of plasma for transfusion.
The appreciation event at the Thunder Bay Labour Centre was an opportunity for staff to say goodbye to long-time donors to the clinic. It was also an opportunity to sign petitions calling for greater self-sufficiency in Canada’s plasma supply.
CBS showed in their annual report that they are increasing imports of American plasma while shutting down the last remaining dedicated plasma donor clinic in Canada. Meanwhile several new private for-profit plasma donor clinics are being set up in Southern Ontario.
Thunder Bay resident Reg Meclay spoke about the health problems he experienced after receiving American plasma collected from an Arkansas prison. City Councillors Ken Boshcoff and Larry Hebert – both former donors at the clinic – also spoke. Messages were read from Mayor Keith Hobbs and federal MPs Bruce Hyer and John Rafferty.
The event was hosted by OPSEU’s Kelly Borchardt, whose son sang the national anthem to open the gathering.
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