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The gift of life

By Staff | Feb 9, 2021

Lee Health recently issued an urgent call to our community: The need for blood donations is critical.

To supply the needs of the health care system’s four acute care hospitals — Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, HealthPark Medical Center and Lee Memorial Hospital — and its regional Trauma Center, as well as its specialty hospitals and facilities — Golisano Children’s Hospital, the Rehabilitation Hospital, the Regional Cancer Center and Lee Health Coconut Point — Lee Health needs at least 800 donations a week. That’s how many volunteers need to roll up their sleeves each week to help Lee Health maintain the blood supply required for patient care.

Blood is, literally, life. It’s needed not only for trauma patients but for a variety of medical procedures including surgeries and treatments.

A little can go a long way.

Just one donation can help three patients in need because that pint can be separated into components — red blood cells, plasma and platelets.

To help fill the need, numerous blood drives have been scheduled in February.

Nearest to Sanibel and Captiva, those dates and locations include:

– Feb. 12: Sanibel Straits, at 16100 Myriad Lane, Fort Myers, from 1 to 4 p.m.

– Feb. 22: The Community House, at 2173 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

– Feb. 25: Bailey’s General Store, at 2477 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For the complete list of February locations, visit www.leehealth.org/our-services/blood-centers and click on “Current Blood Drives Near Me.”

We urge those who can to turn out — and that’s most of us as almost anyone can donate blood.

Blood donors just have to weigh at least 115 pounds, be 17 years old or older (16 with parental consent), and have a photo ID if new to the donor process. Most medications do not preclude one from baring an arm.

The procedure is fairly quick and relatively painless – and it can not only save lives but provides some health benefits to the donor to boot as you get a “mini physical” that checks pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin level, blood type and cholesterol level as part of the process.

If you can’t make one of the drives, Lee Health has donation locations and can accommodate most any schedule.

– Cape Coral Hospital, at 636 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral, 239-424-2400.

– Lee Memorial Hospital, at 2776 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, 239-343-2333

– Summerlin Crossings, at 15880 Summerlin Road, Suite 113, Fort Myers, 239-343-7122

– Bonita Community Health Center, at 3501 Health Center Blvd., Suite 2100, Bonita Springs, 239-495-4372

For businesses and organizations looking to help, the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile can come to you. The center provides everything needed to host a blood drive. To schedule the blood mobile, call 239-343-2333.

If you can, we urge you to consider giving blood or, if you have recovered from COVID-19 recently, convalescent plasma (239-343-2332 or COVID.plasma@LeeHealth.org, with e-mail preferred.)

Blood donations are called the “gift of life.”

That they are.

Perhaps now more than ever.

— Reporter editorial