World Blood Donor Day to highlight participants

EVENT UPDATE—Members of the Blood Donors Society held a press conference at the Rand Memorial Hospital where they outlined plans for the World Blood Donor Day ceremony that is set for Thursday. Pictured from left to right are: Anna Tancawan, Clinical Pathologist, GBHS; Claudia Glinton, Treasurer, BDSGB and Laboratory Manager, RMH; Lededra Ferguson, President, BDSGB, Dr. Paul Ward, Medical Chief of Staff, GBHS, and Valeria Burrows, Assistant Director, Communications Department, GBHS. (PHOTO: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Blood donors are to be highlighted this week!

In recognition of World Blood Donor Day which will be celebrated this coming Thursday June 14, The Blood Donors Society of Grand Bahama (BDSGB) is encouraging the Grand Bahama community to celebrate with the countless number of persons who have been participants.

According to Lededra Marche, President, BDSGB, World Blood Donor Day will be recognized in grand style at the Rand Memorial Hospital Foyer on Thursday, beginning at 11:00 a.m.. She is encouraging the public to give blood on that day as well.

“June 14 is World Blood Donor Day and this year’s theme is ‘Be There for Someone Else. Give Blood. Share life.’ This year we will be celebrating and thanking our heroes, all of those who selflessly donate blood to help to save lives and, especially those who have come on board to join our blood donors registry.
“We want to raise the awareness that it starts with you; all of us. We can help patients suffering from life threatening conditions to live longer and with a high quality of life. We are also asking everyone, on June 14, to wear red and to donate blood. You can do so by coming to The Rand Memorial Hospital Laboratory from 12:00 p.m.. to 4:00 p.m.,” stated Marche.

While the BDSGB is celebrating just its first anniversary as a non profit organization this month, Marche said “indelible strides in the community” have been made to foster and encourage persons to assist in giving the gift of life.

Marche informed also that during the Society’s major blood drive in April of this year, the number of donors tripled the amount recorded during the previous effort in December of 2017.

“We were definitely excited about that and again, the men outnumbered the women, but, we do not mind friendly competition in the spirit of giving. We definitely had a great turnout in April and we expect that in August when the next one comes around, that there will be even more, because the momentum is growing.

“We want to thank the public for that and the partners that came on board as well. We have a partnership with Grand Bahama Health Services, Red Cross of the Bahamas Grand Bahama Center, The University of The Bahamas, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated, Grand Bahama Alumni Chapter and the Kappa Lambda Lambda Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

She further stated that the long term goal of the Society is to able to go into the industrial areas, and various corporations where the employee numbers are large, as opposed to them having to travel to the laboratory.

“That is the reason we want to have a big red bus, whereby we will be able to take everything we need, park and have the donors come and give blood. That is a long term goal of ours. Our short term, immediate goal was to start the registry which we have done, in December, and, also in the interim, we want to set up some sort of help desk to have procurement and donor care. All of those things are on the drawing board and that is what we are moving towards,” said the BDSGB President.

Dr. Paul Ward, Medical Chief of Staff, Consultant, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Grand Bahama Health Services also expressed his full support of the BDSGB.

“I would like to congratulate the committee on World Blood Donors Day, for coming together to raise awareness in our society, of the importance of blood donation and how it impacts our health care system.
“As a surgeon, personally, I appreciate fully, the importance of having blood available, particularly with life and death emergencies. We appreciate your sincereness in promoting this event. We have a very small population, and a very small hospital but we do see a lot of clinical scenarios that require blood, from road traffic accidents, people come in, in shock and they require blood; this can make a difference between life and death of the individual. Blood donations and having blood at the hospital is extremely important to us.

“We really thank the committee for raising this awareness and we hope that the public will see the importance of partnering with our health care system to become blood donors and to assist us with our blood procurement systems in our hospital.

“We are grateful for this initiative and we hope that it will be sustainable, that it continues and that partners in the community will come, particularly those that have rare blood groups such as the RH Negative persons, and assist us in helping to save lives,” said Ward.

Maria McIntosh, Events Coordinator, BDSGB and Senior Lab Technologist at the Rand Memorial Hospital also appealed for more people to participate.

“We want to encourage the public to come in and donate blood. The blood donation process is very simple. We ask that you fill out a form, and that you hydrate and have a full meal prior to coming in, at least 45 minutes before.

“We want to get rid of those misnomers such as if you have a tattoo or if you are on medication. If you have any questions prior to coming in, you can call the lab.

“We also encourage you to be a part of the Blood Donors Registry and register because we do have a decline in persons registering to be a part of the registration for blood donation. Therefore, we want to encourage everyone to come down. We are open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m.. to 6:30 p.m.. for blood donations.

McIntosh informed as well, that there are some that are not eligible to donate.

“Certain medications will discredit persons from being able to donate. If you have had a tattoo in less than a year, or, if you have had a surgery, or visited a country known to have malaria within the period of one year; those are some reasons that we would defer those donors.

Valeria Burrows, Assistant Director, Communications Department, Grand Bahama Health Services pledged the continued support of that organization.

“The Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS), in particular the Rand Memorial Hospital, has always commemorated World Blood Donors Day. Every year, there has always been some sort of activity to celebrate our donors and to encourage persons to give.

“We have this brand-new organization on stream now (BDSGB), that we are so pleased to partner with and they have taken the ball and ran with it. As you can see, there are persons from the Rand Memorial Hospital who are members of this particular organization.

“We are a society that cares, who want to ensure that people live and we are doing our part, as much as possible, to ensure that blood is available, as Dr. Ward said, for crisis management for surgical cases, and the list goes on.

“We have had a very successful year, since giving birth to it just last June. We have already had two major blood drives and now we are celebrating World Blood Donor Day.

“Again, it bears repeating, we know there is some sort of trepidation about giving blood, but we have some caring and compassionate persons in the laboratory, who are deeply passionate about what they do. They are going to make sure that you are comfortable. Just follow the instructions and you will be just fine,” concluded Burrows.

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