Give the gift of life

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and do the world some good.

Today is World Blood Donor Day and a drive is planned at the Blood Bank at the Cayman Islands Hospital.

Blood Donor Service Chairman Carl Brown is encouraging youth to come out and show their support.

‘One pint of their blood can save three people’s lives,’ said Mr. Brown. ‘Giving is one of the healthiest habits you can cultivate as well. Currently, 50 per cent of our donors are under 35, but we would like to see a larger proportion.’

Giving blood can be an incredibly satisfactory way of giving back to your community, as well as an instigator to renovate your lifestyle.

‘Donating blood invites you to do a kind of mini-check-up,’ said Mr. Brown. ‘This means you can have an early detection of diabetes and other diseases that you can deal with earlier.’

Mr. Brown appeared on the YouthFlex radio show on Radio Cayman last Wednesday in promotion of World Blood Donor Day.

‘I support YouthFlex because they are a medium that access at least three-quarters of young people in Cayman. At least 50 per cent of those are under 23 years of age,’ Mr. Brown explained.

‘At Blood Donor Services, we recognise that we need to start a stronger initiative to engage the next generation of blood donors, and YouthFlex is a natural forum to access young people. It is the most accessible and it has a serious degree of general appeal.’

As well as encouraging younger people to take care of their health and give back to their community, Mr. Brown encourages youth to donate blood because they are the future of the Cayman Islands.

‘The youth of Cayman are the next generation of leaders; the next generation of consumers and who are generally speaking the next generation of active citizens. As such, we needed to engage them as the next generation donors.’

The Cayman Islands has a challenge like many other countries in the world when it comes to blood supplies. There is a worldwide shortage of blood and Cayman is no different.

Sometimes the donation of blood can hit close to home, Mr. Brown said.

‘A lot of blood is used by young people because they are involved in their share of accidents.’

Mr. Brown went on to explain that when there is an incident where there is a potential loss of life, usually this is the point at which friends step forward and wish to donate blood.

However, this is often too late.

‘We need to enlist them, do proper testing and we need to have them answer questionnaires,’ said Mr. Brown. ‘If your friend got in an accident, and he or she needs blood and you are at the hospital, this is not the most opportune time to give.’

Mr. Brown was grateful for the chance to appear on YouthFlex. ‘YouthFlex is very aware, if you listen to the topics they discuss, they are very serious topics.

‘Their thinking pattern is a lot more than ‘what are you doing tonight, what car are you driving?’ I’m privileged to have been invited to the show.’

YouthFlex will also be involved in Wednesday’s blood drive. If you wish to give blood you can contact James Myles at 244-2417 or you can contact Joan Terry at the Cayman Islands Hospital Blood Bank on 244-2674.

‘Any young person 17 years or older can give. If you are 17, however, we will need consent from your parent or guardian,’ Mr. Brown said.

The goals for furthering the promotion of donating blood to youth are extensive, added Mr. Brown. ‘We’re going to work with YouthFlex first, but then we’re going to engage with the Commonwealth Youth Club through YouthFlex.

‘Our intention is to start promoting awareness of giving blood in the high schools.’

For more information, log on to www.wbdd.org or www.who.int/worldblooddonorday.

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