SACPA Session — What is the difference between donating Blood and Plasma?

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The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) presents a session with ULethbridge alumna Brenna Scott (BA '16) as she discusses the differences between donating blood and plasma and the urgent need for more plasma donations.

What is the difference between donating Blood and Plasma?

While many have heard of donating blood, donating plasma is still a relatively new concept. Some people still believe that donating blood and plasma are one and the same, and while both have you sitting in a chair hooked up to a machine, they are different processes with different purposes.

When people think of blood donation, they are typically thinking of whole blood donation. Whole blood donations include all four blood components — red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma — and are used to treat blood loss, typically due to injury or surgery. In contrast, when donating plasma, the straw-colored part of your blood, only that one part, is collected with the other three parts of your blood returned to the donor.

Plasma is used to create different therapies to help replace missing, deficient, or malfunctioning proteins in individuals with serious, often life-threatening diseases, such as hemophilia and primary immunodeficiency. The speaker will explain further and make clear that right now, there is a global need for more plasma donations as the usage of plasma-based therapies is becoming more widely accepted for a larger number of disorders.

Speaker: Brenna Scott

Brenna is the Business Development Manager at Lethbridge’s Canadian Blood Services Plasma Centre. Canadian Blood Services is a non-profit organization that manages the national supply of blood products for patients across Canada.

The Lethbridge Plasma Centre was the second of its kind in Canada and opened in December 2020. Brenna helped not only with the hiring of the staff, but the promotion of the centre to ensure donors would be aware of the importance of plasma and ready to book appointments and support the centre as soon as it opened. Brenna plays an integral role in ensuring that the organization can continue to provide life-saving treatments to those in need and she has helped bring the centre to where it is today with over 27,000 donations of plasma collected.

Brenna is now responsible for overseeing the centre's donor base, educating the public about the need for and importance of plasma, and developing partnerships with local businesses and community organizations.

Date/time: Thursday, September 28, 2023.  The presentation begins at noon & concludes at 1 p.m. 

Cost: Free, but donations are gratefully accepted

Location: Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO) Atrium Dining Room, 500-11 Street S, Lethbridge 

Lunch & Refreshments: The Atrium Dining Room will be available by 11:15 a.m. Please arrive early to patronize the LSCO cafeteria and enjoy their excellent variety of good value food options.

For further information on the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, visit the SACPA website.

Room or Area: 
LSCO, 500 - 11 St S


Trevor Kenney |