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Broadway Palm to host blood drive June 12

By Staff | Jun 8, 2010

Blood donors leaving an upcoming drive at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre will be able to leave with more than the satisfaction of helping others.
Lee Memorial Health System is hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, to replenish its supplies after the use of over 500 units of blood each week. The first 50 people to donate blood will leave the theatre with a free ticket to see the musical “Footloose.”
Each ticket has a value of $49 and is valid on Wednesdays and Thursdays from June 16 to July 1.
Blood donor recruiter Gloria Bonventre said LMHS held a similar blood drive in March 2009 where it gave out free tickets for “The Wedding Singer.” Summer is a difficult time for blood drives, she said, and as a result the system has to get creative.
“It’s very difficult this time of year, people are on vacation and we have to get creative, and that is why instead of doing it in March we do it in the summer, because that is when the need is so great,” she said.
Two of the biggest donor groups, high school students and snowbirds, are unavailable in the summertime, and therefore summer is the most challenging time to maintain blood supplies.
Nearly 35 percent of the county’s blood supply comes from high schools, which are closed for the summer, and most of the snowbirds have already driven back north. The health system uses an average of 500 units or pints of blood each week, or the equivalent of 500 people donating blood, all of which stays in Lee County.
“We provide the blood for our four hospitals,” said Bonventre.
Traumas use even more blood. She said doctors can use between 50 to 100 pints of blood to save one trauma victim. Months ago 50 pints were used on a man who was involved in a car accident. A lot of the blood collected is also used for other products such as platelets — eight units of blood are used for one unit of platelets.
Prospective donors must be at least 16-years-old or have parental consent, weigh a minimum of 115 pounds, have just eaten a meal, be hydrated and have a form of identification with their date of birth. Taking a medications for blood pressure, thyroid, hormone replacement insulin, cholesterol or depression won’t prevent everyone from donating, said officials.
Bonventre also said it is important for all donors to be hydrated. Approximately 18-20 percent of people who want to donate are turned away because they are dehydrated or have low iron, and therefore technicians have a hard time finding a vein to extract their blood.
Lee Memorial Health System is looking for new businesses or communities to schedule a blood drive this summer. For more information, call 334-5333.