Alair Homes Calgary supports community service and one way you can contribute to the health of our communities is to consider becoming a blood donor. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give— the gift of life and it only takes 1 hour of your time. We all know that accidents and illness can strike at any hour of any given day. If it happens to you or a loved one, for some of us a blood transfusion may be needed and what better gift to give than the gift of life.

Becoming a Donor

All donors must be in good general health and able to perform normal activities. You must be aged 17 and older and weigh at least 110 lbs. Generally, it takes about 1 hour to give blood and your gift can help those undergoing heart surgeries or battling leukemia, recovering from a car crash or overcoming some other unfortunate accident, illness or injury. Our blood is made up of red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma. Blood that contains all of these parts is called whole blood.

First Time Donating

Your best bet if you’re a first time donor is to call and find out if you’re a good candidate to donate. If you are eligible you will be asked to fill out some forms and answer some questions. Before you go, make sure feel fine and you’ve eaten a good breakfast or lunch. Also drink plenty of fluids and get a good night’s sleep before your appointment.


When you donate, your temperature, pulse and blood pressure will be checked as well as a health professional will do the finger-stick test to make sure you have a good iron count. Once you are hooked up and blood is flowing, you may be given a soft ball or a different squeezable object to squeeze every few seconds to help with blood flow. After you’ve given your unit of blood (around 350 ml or 1 ½ cups) you’ll be given juice and a snack or water to drink. In the hours that follow, drink plenty of fluids and eat foods rich in iron such as red meats, spinach, raisins or pasta. It generally takes 24 hours for your body to replace plasma and four to six weeks for your body to replace the red blood cells.

You can’t give blood if you are pregnant, you have traveled to certain countries, you’ve had body or ear piercing or a tattoo in the past six months, you have high blood pressure or you take certain medications. If you’ve recently been to the dentist, you should wait 24 – 72 hours; after your visit before donating blood.

If you recently donated blood women must wait 12 weeks (84 days) between donations and men 8 weeks (56 days) before you can donate again. About half of Canadians are eligible to give blood but unfortunately only about 400,000 or 1.2% of Canadians actually make a donation, according to Canadian Blood Services.

In Calgary, Canadian Blood Services is located at 737 – 13 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB T2R 1J1. Telephone is 1-888-236-6283. There is no health risk to giving blood. If this is something you can do, you will be helping many who are unable to help themselves.