Community Asked to Become Bermuda Blood Donors In lead Up to World Blood Donor Day – Saturday 14 June

Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) and the Red Cross today called for more people in Bermuda to join the blood donor community as part of the lead up to World Blood Donor Day on Saturday 14 June 2008.

The theme of World Blood Donor Day this year is to promote the importance of people donating regularly. The Bermuda Red Cross Blood Donor Centre is running a series of adverts profiling donors and recipients, thanking donors for their gift of life and encouraging more people to become a donor.

There will also be a lobby display at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and a thank you event for the Bermuda Red Cross Volunteers who help run the Blood Donor Centre.

“We are fortunate that our existing donors are so supportive and I would like to thank each of them as they come time and time again to ensure Bermuda has enough blood for those in need,” notes Dr Betsie Lombard, Medical Director of the Blood Transfusion Service. “However, we really need to increase our donor pool so that there is less pressure on our small group of donors. Approximately 3% of the Bermuda community donates, compared to 6% in most developed countries. We are therefore using World Blood Day to reach out to the community and ask for help in saving lives.”

The Blood Donor Centre is run jointly by Bermuda Hospitals Board and Bermuda Red Cross. The Bermuda Red Cross has played a crucial role in the running of the Blood Donor Centre since it was set up in 1965, and about 40 volunteers regularly assist BHB nursing staff and technologists in the clinics.

“We hope more people in Bermuda will become a blood donor and help us save lives,” says Ann Spencer-Arscott, Director of the Red Cross. “Our volunteers will be there to make it as comfortable as possible, from welcoming you at the door to providing refreshments once you have donated. Being a blood donor means you are saving lives. So many people benefit – including cancer patients, sickle cell anaemia sufferers, people undergoing surgery, from the very young to the elderly. You never know when it will be someone you love.”

To help make donating blood easier, from this week onwards the hospital has increased the number of spaces available in the visitors car park area by six, by releasing bays previously used by executive management. On clinic days, blood donors will be able to use the spaces. On non-clinic days, patients and visitors will benefit from the extra bays.

Deputy CEO, Venetta Symonds comments: “Blood donors are vital for the running of the hospital. We would not be able to care for many of our patients if it were not for the generosity of our donors. This is one small way we can recognise our blood donor population, making it easier for them to come and donate, and it also frees up more space for visitors and patients on non-clinic days.”

Blood donor clinics are on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8.30am to 3.00pm. Anyone interested in donating should call the Red Cross Blood Donor Centre at 236-5067.

People who’d like to see what a donor goes through can visit the following link to see a short video produced by Bermuda Yellow Pages. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbDbhM9B-Sg.

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