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Florida’s Blood Centers seeking summer donations

By Staff | Jun 12, 2009

Florida’s Blood Centers, an independent blood collection company, is asking Lee County residents to donate blood this summer.
Blood is most commonly used for trauma victims, heart surgeries and organ transplants, and donations take approximately 10 minutes. The entire registration process and waiting time takes close to an hour.
Pat Michaels, executive director of public relations for Florida’s Blood Centers, said the call for blood donations is only given two or three times a year.
“We are running low on all types so we are asking the public to step up and donate in all center locations or the Big Red buses,” he said.
There are eight types of blood, but a majority of people have either O positive — 37 percent — or A positive — 36 percent. Donors with O negative blood are classified as universal donors because anyone can receive their blood.
While the human body holds between 10 and 12 pints of blood, a donation amounts to only one pint.
Michaels said the summer is challenging because the center no longer receives donations from high schools or colleges, and many of the part-time residents have left.
High school blood drives account for 18 percent of the total supply received by Florida’s Blood Centers.
“We have a handful of university drives for the summer, but we don’t have anywhere near the donations we have during the rest of the year,” he said.
Interested donors must be at least 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds, and a donor under 18 must get permission from a parent. No one may donate twice within 56 days in order to give the body time to recover, according to the center’s policy.
This summer the center is offering gifts to anyone who donates on the Big Red bus or in one of the local branches — in Cape Coral at 601 Del Prado Blvd. N. and 6800 Shoppes Plantation Drive in Fort Myers.
Donors receive a free Florida’s Blood Centers’ T-shirt. If they visit a local branch, they get a $10 Wal-Mart gift card.
According to the center, someone somewhere needs a blood transfusion every three seconds, and local donations can be available to a patient within a matter of days.
Michaels said Florida’s Blood Centers offers blood to patients from central to south Florida.
For more information or to check out eligibility, visit: www.floridasbloodcenters.org.