Every time the Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch does another blood drive we never know what to expect and this one was no exception. We also look at how to do better for next time and our new Blood Drive Department head Heidi Simmons did a great job of getting the team to do just that.
Together with the help of Belize Blood Services, several rock-star quality volunteers, and our Chairman Eiden Salazar, we enjoyed great success this past Saturday. Some of our volunteers welcomed people into the clinic, others called out to them on the street and the community opened it’s hearts and wallets generously. We received a record total of $1,208.62 in donations, as well as a sturdy 13 pints of crimson colored life-saving gold which is enough to save 39 lives – yay team.
The blood drive was held from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. The Belize Red Cross, San Pedro Branch would like to thank Dr. Giovanni Solorzano for welcoming us again, to Tropic Air for safely transporting the dedicated Blood Bank employees and their precious cargo, to Projects Abroad for providing volunteers, to Marbucks for the sweet treats, to Green House for fresh fruit, to Marks Store for the foil pan to put it in, to Estele’s for a delicious lunch for the 4 Blood Bank Crew, to Grant Bill Guy for internet promotion, to The San Pedro Sun for its consistent coverage and a rare blood type on their staff, to Ambergris Today for helping get the word out.
A huge ;thank you also goes out to all of our continued supporters and all the various volunteers for joining BRCSP branch on our journey of Changing History Through Saving Lives.
Following through on doing better
As mentioned above, with every blood drive we look at how we can do better. Everyone agrees that consistent and up to date public information is a must. Every time they visit we learn more from Belize Blood Services to gain a better understanding of how the blood process works in our country and what we can do to help.
I know there are a few who are waiting to be eligible to become regular donors. I promise we are all doing the best we can with what we have and I thank you for your patience and support during this challenging and extremely rewarding path.
How to Share Your Crimson Gold
Donating blood is easy. It is important as in all areas of life to the best that you can be, this applies when making a blood donation. Each pint can save up to 3 people and it is important that you provide a strong healthy one.
When preparing for donating blood, think RED:
- Rest and get a good nights sleep.
- Eat a good breakfast with foods high in iron.
- Drink plenty of healthy fluids starting the day before you donate.
You cannot donate at this time if:
- You are under 18 or over 65 years of age
- You plan to SCUBA dive within 24 hours after donating
- You’ve donated within the last 90 days
- You are on certain medications or have some allergies
- You are currently ill
From the front door to the refreshment stand
When you arrive, a volunteer will check you in and take down your information. Then at the next available opportunity, you will be taken for the screening process of some questions and a finger pinprick test to determine what type you are and if you have a healthy enough blood status to donate. If you do not make it through you are still welcome to have a treat as a thank you for trying. If you pass go then you will be placed on the first available table and given a squeeze ball while your blood is being taken. Afterward, one of the Blood Services staff will help you up and show you to the refreshment area where you will get a lovely heart-shaped cookie, fresh fruit, water, and juice.
More Blood Education
Blood typing is important as it allows us to locate people with rare blood types and get them on a list. Dion from San Pedro Sun is one of a few local favorites for O negative and we were very pleased to see him make a deposit in the bank. It was also great to show one of their other reporters Chelsea what goes on first hand at a Belize Red Cross blood drive and have her take some pictures. If you have a rare blood type and are willing to be on our donor list please use the email below.
I gave blood and got the cookie now what?
At the end of the day Belize Blood Services pack up their supplies and cooler of blood and we hail them a cab to the San Pedro Airport. Because we cannot store blood on the island right now, all blood gets flown back to the mainland and is kept at the Blood Bank. Even if we could store blood it would have to be brought to Belize City to be processed and then flown back here.
When someone countrywide is in need of blood they are able to contact the San Pedro Red Cross and ask for help from our Ambergris Caye reserve. It could be your pint.
San Pedro Branch encourages all people receiving blood to pay it forward sometime however they can. We have had many people come to the clinic telling their stories about how a friend or family member benefited from a blood donation. They recognized how important it is and wanted to help someone else the same way. This time we also had someone come and donate specifically for someone in need right now. That was a first and a lovely event to witness.
Another favorite moment that day was watching my good friend Cindy and regular donator explain to her little one Ocean, step by step the process of making a blood donation. Ocean was fascinated, taking it all in and asking questions. I can’t wait for the day I get to take the picture or hear about her story of the first time she donates if she decides to follow her mother’s footsteps.
I want to help when can I donate or what if I can’t?
If you want to become a regular donor like our Facebook page (link below), get on our text list or emailing our department head to get on an email notification list. If you know you cannot give blood but still want to help, we always need volunteers to help us get the word out or help the day of. We are also grateful for any donations to help us with our work.
BRCSP has not scheduled a date for the next blood drive yet, but it will be approximately 3 months from May 14.