The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority’s blood bank is on the hunt for youthful blood as it encourages younger members of the community to register as blood donors.
All blood types are needed and welcomed at the blood bank, but volunteer Kristine Miranda placed emphasis on the need for younger donors, saying, “We are trying to recruit more teenagers and young adults from age 17 and up because most of our donors are already in their 50s and 60s.”
Judith Clarke, Health Services Authority laboratory manager, explained why younger donors should step forward. “It is important to have both young and old donors, but the younger donors are more likely to be in better health and much fitter,” she said. “The younger donors also need to perform their civic duty in the same manner as the older ones.”
The Health Services Authority and Cayman Blood Donor Services held a blood drive last month to mark World Blood Donor Day at the Cayman Islands Hospital Atrium. The blood drive managed to process more than 70 people, gaining 38 new donors.
The theme at this year’s drive was “Thank you for saving my life,” a message that means even more when considering the fact that one pint of blood has the ability to save up to three lives. Ms. Clarke was pleased with the event’s success. “The main objectives of World Blood Donor Day are to educate the community about blood donation and to increase our donor database,” she said.
The process to become a donor involves a screening to measure blood pressure and haemoglobin. Donors are also required to fill out a questionnaire that checks for any illnesses or other circumstances that may make a person ineligible to donate blood. The blood bank encourages honesty on this questionnaire for a safe and speedy process.
Blood drives are normally held every June and December. Outside of these blood drives, people can become donors at any time.
On the day of the blood drive, HSA staff were also on hand to register people for its new Patient Portal. The portal is a free service that allows patients to get online access to test results and other medical history, request and cancel appointments and send a secure message to the HSA care team.
For more information on donating blood, contact the blood bank at 244-2674. The bank is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays.