Editorial for 13 December: Give the gift of blood and life

As you scurry in and out of retailers looking for that oh-so special one-of-a-kind gift, keep in mind there is one particular gift you can give that won’t cost you a cent.

While we are in a very festive season, we are also entering one in which trips to the emergency room increase because of accidents and domestic disputes – usually brought on by an uptick in the intake of alcohol.

And many times those going to the emergency room are going to need blood transfusions.

That’s where you – and your free gift – come in.

The Cayman Islands Blood Bank is making an appeal for blood donors to roll up their sleeves and give the gift of life.

Not sure if you’re eligible to give blood? Go and find out.

It’s a relatively painless procedure that could be the difference between someone’s life and death.

There are a few people in the Cayman Islands who can’t give blood – those who lived in the United Kingdom and other European countries between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months. It is feared that people in that group could have been exposed to the human form of Mad Cow disease.

The benefits to giving blood far outweigh the short time you will spend with your arm outstretched.

Donors receive a free mini physical every time they give blood as blood pressure is taken, iron levels are checked and the blood is tested for any infectious diseases.

Donating blood is a safe process. Each donor’s blood is collected through a new, sterile needle that is used once and then discarded. And afterward you’ll be treated to a sweet – juice or a cookie.

Once you’ve donated blood the first time, make it a point to become a regular donor; healthy adults can give blood every six to eight weeks. Again, check with the blood bank. As we get into the full swing of the Christmas season, remember accident rates will increase and blood will be needed to help victims survive. Take some time to give the gift of life – your blood. The person you help save could be a family member or a friend.