It’s important to the San Pedro Belize Red Cross (SPBRC) that our blood donors have a pleasant and easy experience.
Our recommendations to help you pass the screening and have a good experience before donating blood is to think RED:
- Rest, get a good night’s sleep the night before the drive.
- Eat a healthy meal before you donate, eating iron-rich foods helps strengthen iron levels for safe and successful blood donation. This includes leafy green vegetables, tuna, red meat, and iron-fortified cereals. When a person’s body is low in iron, their blood cells decrease, and it can prevent them from donating.
- Drink plenty of non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages such as water or fresh juice.
The blood donation process is simple. Belize blood bank follows procedures to ensure that personal information is confidential and that each donation is safe for the donor and the recipient. The entire process only takes about 20 minutes, but the reward lasts a lifetime.
There are four main blood types: A, B, AB, and O, with types O and B being the most called for. Each type can also be positive or negative. People with O negative are the universal donors, and people AB positive are universal recipients. Blood makes up about 7% of a person’s body weight, about 10 pints of in an average adult. It takes a healthy person about 4-6 weeks to regenerate a pint of blood.
After screening and testing the person’s blood and the iron level, those that are able to give blood will be moved to the donation area to have their arm prepared for blood to be drawn. It takes about 10 minutes for a pint of blood to be collected.
Next donors will be shown to the refreshment room where they can take it easy for a few minutes and enjoy juice, cookies, and fruit.
For each blood drive we set a donation goal, this last blood drive at Washington University it was 30 pints and we came close. Thanks to the help of everyone who spread the word, came out and donated or encouraged someone to do so 19 pints were collected. In addition to the 72 on stock for our island, that makes a total of 91 pints in the Ambergris Caye reserve.
San Pedro Red Cross currently holds 4 blood drives a year in order to build a supply for residents and visitors of Ambergris Caye and all of Belize. The blood collected is stored at Belize blood bank for use when needed by the Ambergris Caye community. This past weekend, a local resident contacted our Chairman Eiden Salazar, they needed O- blood and he was happy to accommodate their request. If you are a San Pedro resident or visitor in need of blood, simply contact Eiden Salazar, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In an emergency situation, finding someone with a rare blood type can be difficult. This time around we have started a contact list for those people who have rare blood types. If you live on the island, have a rare blood type and would like to be on our emergency donator contact list please email Shirlee Arnould at email@example.com or Laurie Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every time we do another blood drive we learn more and work to improve ourselves for the next time. This time around there were two things that came up:
- A few people said they did not see any promotion including 2 of our regulars. We did advertise as usual with posters around town, in local news, on Reef TV, Ambergris Caye message board, blogs, and Facebook. This made us recognize that no matter how well you put it out there, some people just may not catch it. As a result, we are now starting an email list for any regular donators who want to make sure they do not miss the opportunity. If you would like to be on our email contact list, please email Shirlee Arnould email@example.com or Laurie Norton firstname.lastname@example.org with “Regular blood donor” for the subject line.
- The other thing that came up in a post on the popular Belize message board was blood testing. All blood gets tested by Central Blood bank for the following things: Malaria, HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Syphilis and Chagas (a parasitic disease).
We appreciate everyone’s help role in making our blood drives successful and your support in the ongoing effort to save lives in our community. Thanks to local businesses and people who donated time, transportation and food, we could not do it without you. Tropic Air, AirStrip Taxi Association, Island Supermarket – cookies and juice, Crossfit CSF – wings for lunch, Freddie Gonzalez – fruit and water. A special thanks to Washington University for their help. In addition to hosting the blood drive, they provided cutlery and plates, Facebooked during the event, and provided lots of wonderful volunteers. The next Blood Drive will be September 6, 2014. Location to be announced soon.
Other Red Cross news: Humanitarians meet in the Caribbean to review and update contingency plans for Hurricane season. During this gathering some fifty Red Cross delegates from the Caribbean Region including; Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Suriname, Anquilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia, Guyana St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Haiti, and Belize joined representatives from the Pan-American Disaster Response Unit (PADRU), European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, (ECHO), Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) Trinidad and Tobago, the IFRC’s Caribbean Regional Representation Office (CRRO) as well as its America’s Zone Office, and delegates from the American, Finnish, Norwegian, and French Red Cross Caribbean Platform (PIRAC). Jan Gelfand, Head of Programmes and Operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Americas explained if a hurricane or disaster should impact a given country, the government and civil society capacity to respond is quite limited, therefore we have decided to partner with others through our Red Cross network in order to improve humanitarian response, save more lives, and accelerate recovery efforts – information courtesy of The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) website.