Sandals Negril partners with community for blood drive; 39 units collected
THE National Blood Transfusion Service has increased its ability to help save over 100 lives following a recent community blood drive spearheaded by the Sandals Resorts in Negril, which saw the collection of 39 units.
According to Sandals, the drive, which was held at the Negril Community Centre, was the first of its kind in the resort town, and was carried out in observation of World Blood Donor Day to increase the supply of the life-saving fluid in Jamaica's medical facilities.
Approximately 60 people supported the initiative by signing up as donors; however, of that number, 39 were eligible to donate. In addition to staff members from Sandals, Beaches and Grand Pineapple Resorts in Negril, representatives from several businesses and other groups also supported the initiative. These included the Bank of Nova Scotia, National Commercial Bank, C&WJ Cooperative Credit Union, Hi-Lo Food Stores, NEPA, Sona Duty Free Shop, White Sands Hotel, Riverside Pharmacy, Digital Entertainment, World of Sports Negril and the Rotaract Club of Negril. Several craft vendors from the resort town's craft market, located on the same compound, also turned out in support of the event.
Pauline Jarrett, one of the craft vendors who donated, was the winner of a day pass for two at Sandals Negril -- an incentive for persons who participated in the drive. Jarrett said that several years ago she was required to do surgery and needed blood, but her sister, who was unable to donate at that time, asked a friend, who came to her aid without hesitating. This kind gesture, she noted, inspired her to also unreservedly give the blood. "I didn't even know about the raffle for the day pass until after I donated and was about to leave and someone asked me if I had already signed up for it," she noted. "I feel so happy and really appreciate it and I look forward to spending a day at Sandals Negril."
The other winner of an evening pass for two at the luxury-included resort, Colin Brown, an employee of C&WJ Cooperative Credit Union, was also elated about his prize and explained why he thought everyone should donate blood. "We all have to be socially responsible and have to give back in one way or the other, and this is one way of giving back," he said.
Odean Black, blood donor organiser at the Blood Bank (Western Region), noted that the support was indicative of the willingness of Negril residents and businesses to play their part in helping to increase the nation's blood supply. "This is a pretty good number for a small town," he said, while pointing out that "interested persons who did not get to turn up at the drive could always visit the Cornwall Regional Hospital and make their donation there."
Kendra Johnson, regional public relations manager for Sandals Resorts in Negril, was happy with the outcome of the blood drive and noted that it was likely to become an annual event. "It was heartwarming to see all the donors [as] it shows that people recognise that anyone can be placed in a position where they need blood, and a process that took a donor less than one hour can help determine whether someone else lives or dies."
Earlier this year, the Blood Bank cited a shortage of approximately 40 per cent below the targeted 60,000 units of blood needed in Jamaica.