(CNS): The Cayman Islands Blood Bank is hoping to find 500 new donors by the end of 2017, and towards this end it hosted its first major blood drive on 28 January at the recent Taste of Cayman Food Festival, where 30 people signed up. Judith Clarke, Laboratory Manager at the Health Services Authority (HSA), said the drive went very well. “Thirty potential donors registered that evening and several more took our website address to sign up online,” she said. “We were able to reach a great number of people and educate them on the reasons they may or may not be able to donate blood.”
People who visited or lived in the UK from 1980 to 1996 for three months or more are still not eligible to donate because of the outbreak of Creutzfeldt-Jakob (mad cow) disease in Britain at the time. There are also restrictions on people under 18 or over 70, those with certain health conditions and pregnant woman, further shrinking the potential pool in an already small country, which means the blood bank must work harder to persuade those who are eligible to donate.
William Inniss, District Alumni Chair of Rotary District 7020, who helped with the recent drive, said that members of that club have donated and continue to donate blood regularly to the Cayman Island Blood Bank.
“Rotary also strongly supports the projects of our Rotaract clubs. One of these projects lately has been a district-wide initiative to encourage and promote blood donation in each club’s island,” he added.
The World Health Organisation states that transfusions of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies, such as conflicts, natural disasters and childbirth. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.
“The importance of donating cannot be understated; each donation potentially saves three lives. But aside from helping others, there are many benefits to the donor as well,” Inniss said. “It preserves your cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, reduces the risk of cancer and provides free mini-physical.”
More about the Cayman Islands Blood Bank and how to become a donor, a sponsor or a volunteer, can be found here.