The Blood Bank at Cayman Islands Hospital now has a new van to carry necessary equipment on mobile blood drives.
“Having a vehicle that is readily available and used exclusively to facilitate the collection of blood is a major milestone for the Blood Bank,” said Blood Bank Manager Judith Clarke in a statement issued after the van was handed over by donors in front of the Cayman Islands Hospital on Wednesday afternoon.
“As requests for mobile blood drives increase, this contribution will make a significant difference in how efficiently the blood drive process flows,” she added.
Car City worked with Hurley’s Media and sponsors BAF Insurance, Elite Granite and Marble, Island Heritage, Cayman First, First Caribbean Bank, Health Care Pharmacy and SALT Technology Group to donate the $19,900 vehicle.
“It’s not just the van we are donating here today; it’s the van, all the medical supplies and equipment,” Taylor Foster of Car City told the Compass.
“It will make a big difference for us now that we have our own utility unit,” Clarke said, adding that before this, the Blood Bank borrowed vehicles to transport equipment.
Each of the van’s corporate sponsors will host a public blood drive over the next 12 months in hopes of increasing the current donor pool from 2.5% to 5% of the population, to meet the growing needs of Cayman.
Throughout the year, Foster said, he and the other blood drive organisers, would also liaise with Peter Campbell, a young Caymanian director who is working on a documentary about the Blood Bank and blood donations in Cayman.
After hosting a blood drive in March last year and collecting more than 58 pints of blood, Foster said, Car City and Hurley’s Media representatives met with Blood Bank staff to find out what could be done to help with blood drives. The need for transport, among other things, was suggested.
“People were bringing instruments and things in their personal cars … Blood is not just a soda can where you can throw it in the back of a car … it takes a little more finesse and care taking, so the van was very important,” he said.
Delroy Jefferson, acting CEO and medical director of the Health Services Authority, said, “It means we can be more flexible. They can have some of the equipment stored within the vehicle so that they don’t have to be off-loading from time to time, and [can] reach more persons to donate that very important blood that’s needed to save a life,” he said.
Susan Anderson of Elite Granite and Marble said owner Mike Laurenson was delighted to be a part of the blood incentive. “He thinks it’s a fabulous contribution to the Health Services Authority to be able to go to outlying areas of the islands that perhaps wouldn’t be able to contribute blood,” Anderson said.
Vernice West, general manager at BAF Insurance, said, “We very well realise the importance of the Blood Bank service within the community and the opportunity it gives people in the outer districts to give blood … it’s a win-win situation for everyone,” she said.
Members of the public can track the van’s blood drive-related activities on the Blood Bank’s website, www.bloodbank.ky, which will indicate when and where the van is being used for a blood drive, so they can drop by and donate blood on the spot.