Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

January 25, 2012 15:29 ET

Defence Team Recognized for Commitment to Saving Lives Through Blood Donations

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 25, 2012) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, congratulates the members of the Defence Team for being recognized by Canadian Blood Services' national Partners for Life program.

"I am extremely proud of the steadfast commitment to the community that both military and civilian members of our Defence Team have shown by regularly participating in blood drives throughout the country. This is a commitment I am confident will continue throughout 2012 and well into the future," said Minister MacKay. "The Defence Team has forged a strong and lasting relationship with Canadian Blood Services and that relationship continues to be firm and unwavering today."

The Partners for Life program is a Canadian Blood Services initiative designed to recognize partner organizations that provide significant donations on an annual basis. In 2006, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF) became the first national Partners for Life of Canadian Blood Services.

"Our partnership with Canadian Blood Services is integral in helping military medical personnel treat serious trauma cases on the battlefield," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, who accepted the award in a ceremony in Ottawa today. "Blood donations save countless lives each year and we are proud to be a key contributor to this national mission."

Since becoming a national partner, members of the Defence Team have made over 23,000 blood donations that have had a lasting, life-saving impact on nearly 70,000 Canadians.

"We are re-affirming our relationship with Canadian Blood Services this year and extending our partnership through the OneMatch program," said Commodore Hans Jung, the Canadian Forces Surgeon General. "The OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network is responsible for finding and matching volunteer donors to patients who require stem cell transplants."

When a Defence Team member donates blood at a DND clinic, they will now have the opportunity to offer a cheek swab. This DNA will be entered into the OneMatch database of compatible donor recipients to assist in the challenging of matching stem cell donors with recipients.

"The relationship between Canada's military and the blood system is one of long-standing mutual support, stemming from when Canadians voluntarily donated blood to help wounded troops during World War Two," said Dr. Graham Sher, Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Blood Services. "Today and going forward, we begin a new chapter in our long history."

Sixty years after the war, with the CF Health Services in command of the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Canadian Blood Services and the CF collaboratively created a walking blood bank program.

Canadian Blood Services pre-screened troops before their deployment so that the CF in Afghanistan had access to on-call donors in the event large quantities of blood were needed or supplies became exhausted. The agreement also saw Canadian Blood Services training CF nursing and laboratory personnel in drawing and testing blood according to the highest Canadian and world standards.

More information:

To book an appointment or for more information, visit Canadian Blood Services at www.blood.ca or call 1-888-2-DONATE.

Canadian Blood Services is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the supply of blood and blood products in all provinces and territories outside of Quebec. Canadian Blood Services also oversees the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, and provides national leadership for organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Canadian Blood Services operates 43 permanent collection sites and more than 20,000 donor clinics annually. They are funded by the provincial and territorial Ministries of Health. The federal government, through Health Canada, is responsible for regulating the blood system.

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