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Blood donation drive hailed a ‘huge success’

Bermuda Blood Donor Centre's summer blood drive has been hailed a huge success after more than 360 people answered the call for donations.

Sixty of those were new donors and a number of well-known local athletes signed on to encourage young people to give blood to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

The hospital uses 35 to 45 pints of blood supplied by the centre every week for cancer patients, mothers and babies, accident victims, surgical patients and people with anaemia.

Only healthy people between the ages of 18 and 70 years and weighing a minimum of 110lbs are eligible to donate blood.

According to the Bermuda Demographic Profile of 2013, less than 55,000 people out of a total population of 69,080 are eligible.

A hospital spokeswoman noted there are other factors also taken into consideration on eligibility.

Extended lengths of stay in countries at risk for ‘Mad Cow disease', for instance, may render healthy individuals in the right age group ineligible.

Of Bermuda's estimated 55,000 eligible blood donors, only two percent actually donate and only four percent of those are aged under 25.

The total number of donors less than 25 years of age donating each year over the past five years ranges from 40 to 70.

BHB blood transfusion service director Eyitayo Fakunle noted that 40 to 50 donors are needed every week to meet the needs of patients.

“As our pool of donors grows older, we need to recruit younger people to replace them,” said Dr Fakunle. “While we are grateful to everyone who donates blood, we need people in their 20s and 30s to become blood donors. Our aim is to make blood available whenever doctors request it in the hospital.”

He added that there's “many more people willing to become donors, especially when they realise it could be their family member or even they themselves, whose life needs saving”.

Donating blood is a simple, painless process that only takes about half an hour to complete.

“But the satisfaction of knowing you have made a vital difference in the life of someone who is sick or injured can last a lifetime,” said Dr Fakunle.

“We are very pleased with the success of our Summer Blood Drive and to all who responded. We are especially grateful to Digicel for the support they provided.”

While the need for donors remains constant throughout the year, the recent drive especially targeted college students returning home for the summer, as well as other young adults.

To boost interest, all donors were entered into a raffle draw to win one of two cell phones donated by Digicel Bermuda Limited.

Richard Pully and Candace Foggo were announced as the two winners on Friday.

Digicel Bermuda CEO, Wayne Caines said the two prize winners were “randomly selected from 360 generous individuals”.

But he said: “The real winners here are the people whose lives have been saved by these donors with the help of the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre.

“A ready blood supply is crucial for immediate response to patients requiring transfusions and can make the difference between life and death.

“We hope these donors will continue to give blood and others will be encouraged to do the same.”

Blood which carries oxygen and nutrients throughout the body cells. The average adult contains 12 pints of blood, which contain many substances including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.

Only one pint is taken from donors at a time. That volume replenishes itself within 24 hours.

For more information contact the Blood Donor Centre at 236-5067 or e-mail blood.donor@bhb.bm.

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Published September 25, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 25, 2013 at 12:40 am)

Blood donation drive hailed a ‘huge success’

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