Local blood banks hoping to see red
The Lee Memorial Blood Center is hosting three special hospital blood drives during the holidays to help cut down on the shortage of blood they experience this time of the year.
Nancy Hendrick, community relations coordinator said they are having the special holiday blood drive to make people more aware of the need of blood for the Lee Memorial Health System.
She explained that hospital supplies are currently at an acceptable level but the week after Christmas they will be low due to the blood centers closing for a few days during the holidays.
“We want to make sure we have an adequate supply,” Hendrick said.
In between Christmas and New Year’s, she explained, it is hard to draw people in to donate blood because they are traveling, busy with holiday planning and shopping for presents.
“That is when accidents happen and we want to make sure the blood supply is at an adequate level,” Hendrick said. “We want to ensure the supply is there.”
The first of three special blood drives will be held at the Cape Coral Hospital on Dec. 29 from 9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and on Dec. 30 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The Lee Memorial Health System uses more than 500 units of blood every week due to The Children’s Hospital and trauma center being the only one of its kind in a five- county area.
All blood types are currently needed for the constant need to replenish blood on a daily basis.
“It is very hard to maintain that level,” she said, adding that she encourages everyone to “step up to the plate and donate.”
The other two special holiday blood drives will be held at HealthPark Medical Center on Jan. 3 from 9:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. and on Jan. 4 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and at Gulf Coast Medical Center on Jan. 21 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Jan. 24 from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For those who donate their blood on those specific days will be given free food, a long-sleeve shirt and coupons to area businesses, as well as chance drawings for gift certificates and weekend getaways.
Individuals must be at least 17 years old, or 16 with parental consent and in good general health, along with weighing a minimum of 115 pounds to donate blood. Those who donate need to provide a photo identification and eat a good meal and drink plenty of fluids before they donate blood.
Hendrick said individuals should have a iron rich meal before their blood is drawn because of the amount that they will be donating.
She added that they also have cookies, crackers, juice and soda available at the site.
“We do want them to eat before they donate,” she said. “It is not a blood test, it is a donation.”
An individual can donate their blood every 56 days, which can amount to a total of six times a year if timed correctly.
The Lee Memorial Blood Center is the sole provider for the Lee Memorial Health System.
“Your blood donations stay in the community for your loved ones and neighbors,” Hendrick said. “Without the support of the community the needs are not met.”
She explained that by having a hospital based blood center they save money for Lee Memorial Health System because they draw in their own blood donors.
For more information about blood donations call Lee Memorial Hospital at (239) 343-2333; HealthPark Medical Center at (239) 343-5604; Cape Coral Hospital at (239) 573-5400 or Bonita Community Health Center at (239) 949-1050.