The Blood Drive initiated by the Sigma Beta Lambda Fraternity on Friday, May 10 was poorly supported and now, the frat brothers are appealing to the Grand Bahama community to register as blood donors.
Held at the Rand Memorial Hospital, the fraternity partnered with the Blood Donors Society of Grand Bahama, for the first time, not only with the hope of boosting the donors’ registry, but to bring awareness of the importance of being a donor.
Although members of the two organizations were a bit disappointed, they are still hopeful that next year there can be a better turnout.
While donating blood himself, Sigma Beta Lambda Chapter President Kevin Turnquest II noted, “We are doing our part to help fill Grand Bahama’s Blood Bank, as well as raising awareness for the Blood Donors Society aiding registration efforts and helping fill the database of registered donors.
“It’s incredibly important to be a part of something like this, especially in times of emergencies. Our blood transfusion is done on a bartered system, which means for someone to be able to receive a transfusion, they have to get a number of persons to donate.
“That is not a feasible way for things to be done, that is not a way to ensure the preservation of the most possible lives,” said Turnquest II.
“In particular, when there is a situation where there is an emergency, there are a lot times we find that people aren’t able to find donors to replace the blood transfusion in time and that can have negative effects.
“So, what we are trying to do is our part to try and alleviate the need for that sort of bartering system and eventually, we can get to the point where we wouldn’t need that anymore, and there would be a regular system of regular registered donors which would allow more lives to be saved,” he added.
Questioned as to his reason why persons are fearing donating blood, Turnquest said, “There is a bit of a cultural stigma towards it and persons, particularly those of the generation preceeding mine, are not a fan of needles. They are not wholly sold on giving blood and sometimes there is even religious reasons why persons don’t want to participate in giving blood, which is fine and entirely understandable. But in those instances, for persons that do need the blood transfusion, your duty is to raise awareness on how important it is for persons to donate.”
Turnquest, his vice president and frat brothers were proud to be a part of increasing units at the Blood Bank.
Noting that he was eager to participate in the drive, Sigma Beta Lambda Chapter Vice President and Coordinator Bradley McDonald, shared that the initiative will become an annual event.
“Every day on Facebook you have people posting that they need blood for family members, but to be honest there are not enough people out there who want to give blood because most of them are fearful of the results after their blood gets tested or they are just afraid of big needles.
“With my mother being a nurse, I actually wanted to push this Blood Drive out. So, during our monthly meeting we made plans and brought them forward.
“I reached out to the Blood Donors Society to find out how do I go about doing a Blood Drive and they asked if they could’ve done a partnership with us,” McDonald revealed.
“Since this is the first drive, I wasn’t really pleased with the results because we are still trying to get people to come out; but I believe it’s because we did it on a Friday and usually people are out to work.
“But next year we will try to host it on a weekend and see if we can get our people to come out,” expressed McDonald
Blood Donors Society Grand Bahama President Lededra Marche, spoke about the partnership, “We were thrilled when Mr. McDonald reached out to us about facilitating a Blood Drive this year and expressing their intent to make it an annual event.
“We are always pleased to partner with members of the public, organizations and corporate Grand Bahama to replenish the Blood Bank at the Grand Bahama Health Services.
“We welcome anyone who desires to come with their families, employees or friends. In fact, we’ve been promoting our ‘Drip, Drip’ Challenge which we initiated this year and will be held on June 14, World Blood Donors Day at the Rand Memorial Hospital,” Marche said.
Rand Memorial Hospital, Lab Manager and treasurer of Blood Donors Society Claudia Glinton added, “So far, we have had about five or six donors that have come in, but I’m hoping for the remainder of the day more persons come out.
“This is important; unfortunately, we don’t have the support of the community in terms of units in the hospital. There are so many people who need blood for different reasons not just tragic reasons in terms of accident, but there are people who have cancer.
“There are people who are bleeding because their iron levels are low and they just don’t have the family and friends to come in and donate blood for them. So, if we get the community to continually come in and donate blood, there would never be that need for someone to be out there, petitioning persons to donate blood for them.
“Nonetheless, we were still excited because the Sigma Beta Lambda have so many strapping young men who came in and donated blood.
“They have encouraged the Grand Bahama community to come out and be a part of this drive and that is all we needed,” Glinton added.