World Blood Donor Day Calls for Increasing the Number of Bermudian Donors

Corporations and individuals are urged to support the Bermuda Blood Donor Centre

The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre will mark World Blood Donor Day on 14 June with a message to everyone in our community that we need more blood donors. Blood is not imported and blood supplies are dependent upon people who choose to donate.

Currently, about 2% of Bermuda’s population are donors. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that in developed countries like Bermuda, about 6% of the population donates. WHO also reports that in many jurisdictions, 38% of donors are under the age of 25. In Bermuda, less than 4% of our donors are under 25.

“We are truly grateful for our existing donors- they are faithful and dedicated but we need to expand our donor base,” explains Susan de Verteuil, Pathology Nurse at the hospital’s Blood Donor Centre. “We currently have about 1100 donors but would really like to see that number increase to at least 2000.”

Corporations and businesses are being encouraged to support staff members who donate and to think of ways they can help the Blood Donor Centre increase their number of donors.

Earlier this year, Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club ran a Golf and Blood Donation drive. Golfers who donated and brought a friend during February, March and April were given free green fees. The project was a huge success and generated 80 new blood donors.

“Our position at Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club is ‘whatever we do should be of benefit to another,’” said Dennis Paul, General Manager. “Therefore it was without hesitation that we partnered with the hospital to promote the worthwhile cause of donating blood.”

Chartis Insurance has chosen to encourage their staff to become donors by giving a day off to any employee who donates three times a year.

“At Chartis, we understand the value of doing our part in helping others have a better quality of life,” said George Dove, Senior Vice President, Human Resources and International Payroll.

HOTT 107.5 radio is inviting people to become donors by raffling off prizes to those who donate and mention HOTT’s name during June, July and August.

“When I learned only 2% of Bermudians are blood donors, I felt challenged to do something,” says DJ Nikita Robinson. “We’re giving away a $100 gift certificate, compliments of C-Travel, to be raffled off to listeners who donate in June. Stay tuned to find out what prizes we will give away in July and August.”

“When local companies support the Blood Donor Centre, it really makes a difference,” Sue notes. “We invite other businesses to consider ways they can help our efforts.”

Donated blood is primarily used for people who undergo surgery or who need blood for therapeutic reasons, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy or people with sickle cell anaemia. Only a small percentage of supplies go to trauma victims, such as road traffic accidents or victims of violence.

“Blood donors not only save lives, but improve the quality of life for many people with painful and debilitating conditions,” says Dr Kered James, Bermuda Hospital Board’s Chief of Pathology. “Giving blood is safe, comfortable and fast. We use trained blood donor nurses and technicians to ensure maximum comfort and safety.”

About 40 to 50 units of blood are needed in Bermuda every week to manage therapeutic uses, planned surgery and trauma. Without blood donations, no elective or emergency surgery could take place on Island, and people needing therapeutic blood donations would have to travel for treatments. The donation process only takes about half an hour the hospital provides dedicated parking for blood donors.

Members of the public are invited to stop by the hospital lobby beginning 14 June to view a World Blood Donor Day display and learn about donating blood. The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre is located on the first floor at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital. Clinics are held Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 8.30am to 3.00pm. Most healthy people between 18 and 70 who weigh a minimum of 110lbs can donate. To ensure the safety of donors and recipients, there are some restrictions. To schedule an appointment, call 236-5067 or email blood.donor@bhb.bm. Learn more on Facebook at Betsie Blood-Drop or from the hospital’s website at www.bermudahospitals.com

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