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Lee Memorial Blood Center continues donation drive

By Staff | Jul 12, 2011

Although a total of 257 units of blood were collected during five blood drives held last week, the Lee Memorial Blood Center is still asking residents to donate blood, so it can continue to tackle the blood shortage the area is currently experiencing.
“We really need to ask the community if they haven’t had the chance to come in and donate to please do so, or if they have any questions to please call and find out if they can be a lifesaver for someone,” Nancy Hendrick, community relations director of Lee Memorial Blood Center, said. “Bottom line is, we’re still in great need of all blood types, so come on down and give the gift of life.”
The Fun in the Sun Hospital Blood Drive at HealthPark generated the most donations over the two days it was held with 129 units on July 6 and 88 units on July 7.
The blood drive held at Christian Life Fellowship Church collected 18 units of blood the day before the Fourth of July, seven units of blood were collected from the blood drive held at Curves and three units of blood were collected from Sweetbay Supermarket. In a blood drive held over the weekend, 12 units of blood were collected at St. Andrew Catholic Church.
Hendrick said the drives that were recently held helped cover the need of blood for the Lee Memorial Health System for a brief period of time.
“We are still experiencing shortages of all blood types, especially O negative and A negative,” she said.
Hendrick said O negative blood, which only 9 percent of the population has, is universal because when an individual with a trauma visits the hospital, he or she is usually given O negative blood type first before the staff determines what blood type the patient is.
Although O negative is a universal blood type, she said if an individual is O negative, that person can only receive O negative blood type back.
Only 7 percent of the population has an A negative blood type.
The most common blood type is O positive, with 40 percent of the population having that type. Thirty-one percent of the population has A positive blood.
Two additional blood drives will be held in Fort Myers. The first blood drive will be held today at Lee Memorial Hospital from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. On Wednesday, the blood mobile will travel to Edison State College from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in parking lot three.
To donate blood, 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. Before donating blood, individuals should be hydrated and eat high fiber foods.
A photo ID is needed for first-time donors.
Individuals can also donate their blood at the Cape Coral Hospital Donor Center Monday through Friday. The hours are from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
For information call the Cape Coral Hospital Donor Center at 239-424-2400.
An individual can donate blood every 56 days, which can amount to a total of six times a year, if timed correctly.
Hendrick said LMHS needs 800 units of blood and blood products a week just to sustain the demand, which is an increase of the 600 units they used to need a week to fulfil that demand.
She said the majority of the blood donations goes to the Regional Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital. The cancer center alone utilizes between 300 to 350 units of blood and blood products a week.
The shortage Lee Memorial Blood Center is experiencing stems from the departure of winter visitors and school being let out for the summer. The high school students of Lee County make up 30 percent of the blood donations the Lee Memorial Blood Center receives.
The Lee Memorial Blood Center is the sole provider for the Lee Memorial Health System.
For more information about the Lee Memorial Blood Center visit www.leememorial.org/bloodcenter/index.asp.