Christmas may be the season of merriment and wonder, but it’s also that time of year when blood banks unfortunately find themselves in need of extra blood.
Traffic and domestic accidents due to drinking tend to be more plentiful during the festive season, said Judith Clarke, laboratory manager at the Cayman Islands Blood Bank.
“At times like this, we do like to try to keep an additional 20 per cent of blood in the bank,” said Ms Clarke.
Employees at some companies are already lining up to donate blood, including the staff and agents of RE/MAX Cayman Islands who are conducting a blood donation drive.
Scott Roe, sales associate at RE/MAX and organiser of the blood drive, said: “If you’re eligible to give blood, and you’re a little nervous, bring a friend with you when you go. One of the most common statements made by nervous first-time donors after they’ve donated is ‘It was no big deal’.”
He added: “Giving and receiving blood saves lives. Your gift of blood helps others. Receiving blood when you need it can save your life.”
The blood bank urges residents to become regular blood donors, although some residents are ineligible to donate because they have lived in the United Kingdom and other European countries between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months. Cayman, like many other jurisdictions, does not accept blood from those individuals due to fears of blood contamination from Creutzfeldt–Jakob Disease, also known as the human form of Mad Cow Disease.
Mr. Roe explained that there are many benefits to being a regular blood donor, including receiving a “mini-physical” every time one gives blood. “Your blood pressure is checked, very important in the Cayman Islands because we have an increased incidence of high blood pressure. Your iron level is checked; an important indicator of your general health and diet, and your blood is tested for any infectious diseases,” he said.
Any companies or individuals who want to find out more about donating blood during the festive season, should email Ms Clarke on [email protected] or call the Cayman Islands Blood Bank at the public hospital on 244-2674.