SUDBURY -- For some donors, the decision to donate blood and plasma is a personal one.

Cyril McFate, 80, said his older brother needs plasma on a regular basis. That paired with his military and political background -- and learning about how important donations are -- has him in the donation chair once a week.

"I was in Europe for five years during the Cold War and you get the feeling of how important it is to actually be there for people," said McFate.

"In politics it was totally different of course. This is where you’re trying to find out what people actually need, how you can supply them with what they need, that sort of thing, so you get a feel for people in general. And to me, it’s really, really important that we can do this."

Officials with Canadian Blood Services said more than 1,500 appointments are needed a month -- including 125 new plasma donors every single month -- to meet the demand in Canada.

"With a community of over 160,000 people, we really need our Sudbury donors to come out," said Teri-Mai Armstrong, business development manager for Canadian Blood Services. "If you’ve never tried it before, come on out and give it a try."

Armstrong said the demand for plasma in Canada is four times the available supply.

"So right now, when we’re collecting plasma it’s going wherever it’s needed across Canada," she said. "We have many recipients right here in Sudbury … that require these life-saving medicines."

On average, men can donate plasma every six days and women every 12.

'It feels great'

"It feels great," said McFate. "It doesn’t hurt. It’s in us to give, so why not give? The way I feel when I’m coming out of here is, when am I coming back?"

Armstrong said plasma products are used for many different life-threatening conditions, including severe burns, immune deficiencies, diseases and cancer.

"The main difference between a blood donation and a plasma donation is the centrifuge and that’s where we were able to extract just the plasma," she said.

"Plasma is a protein-rich fluid in your body that helps the other components of your blood circulate and so basically what it allows us to do is grab a larger amount of plasma and your body recuperates that quite quickly."

With a comfy chair to sit in, friendly staff, and an hour or so to spare, McFate said it’s a good way to give back.

"I think a lot of people think it’s a little bit more difficult than it is," he said. "So we’ve got to get them here and make them understand it’s like a family event really and people really enjoy doing it and it’s very, very worthwhile."

Enhanced public health and safety measures are in place at all donation facilities.

For more information or to book a donation appointment, click here.