60 donations and counting

Donor says giving blood is a win-win

By Alicia Sutherland
Observer staff reporter

Monday, June 19, 2017

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Without reservation, Northern Caribbean University lecturer Edward Morris took time out to donate blood at the World Blood Donor Day activities in Mandeville last Wednesday.

He told the Jamaica Observer Central that, inspired by the regular donations of his father, he also developed the habit.

“It is my 60th donation,” he said, adding,“It is a win-win situation. I promote this in the classroom; I promote this to everybody.”

Morris said that there are benefits to the donor such as free medical checks prior to giving blood. However, being part of a process that is assisting in saving lives is what he values most.

“The biggest benefit for me is the intrinsic satisfaction of giving back,” he said.

That kind of commitment is in line with the National Blood Transfusion Service's quest to develop “a culture of blood donation”.

The Kingston-based organisation is responsible for the collection, testing and distribution of all blood and its by-products distributed across Jamaica.

Some public health care facilities in different parts of the island are among the places where blood donations can also be made.

Blood donor organiser at the Blood Transfusion Service, Igol Allen said that the efforts to build the blood donation culture within the Southern Regional Health Authority, which caters to public health facilities in Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth, is a primary reason for a decision taken this year to have the National World Blood Donor Day celebrations in the region.

The event was held at the Golf View Hotel in Manchester's capital town, Mandeville.

“The (Blood Collection) Centre at Mandeville Regional (Hospital) is the only centre in the country that has extended opening hours,” Allen emphasised.

He said that it is evident that people within the region are willing to give blood, but they need to do it at times which are convenient to them in order that it does not affect, for example, work hours.

Allen said with an established culture of blood donation, adequate blood will always be in stock for emergencies and for persons who need transfusions regularly because of particular health conditions.

Educator and aplastic anaemia patient, Sashay Scott knows well what it feels like to be dependent on receiving blood.

She told the Observer Central that she was diagnosed with what she says is the rare condition earlier this year, and consequently now needs blood to stay alive.

“It has been difficult, it has been challenging. If it wasn't for the blood I would not be alive,” she said.

Scott said, essentially, her bone marrow is not functioning, resulting in fatigue, weakness, bleeding gums, headaches, bleeding in the skin. She needs to receive blood every two weeks until she gets a chance to go overseas to do the required surgery that will provide a more permanent treatment for the condition.

According to information from the National Blood Transfusion Service, a single donation, which amounts to one unit or one pint of blood, can help to save as many as three lives.

Blood donors are encouraged to make a donation up to four times per year.

For the Pan American Health Association, designating June 14 annually as World Blood Donor Day is a way to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood components, and to express gratitude to donors.




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