As sum­mer be­gins, Blood Bank of Del­marva needs do­na­tions

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The sum­mer­time is the sea­son for fun in the sun, cook­outs and va­ca­tions, but also a de­crease in blood do­na­tions.

The Blood Bank of Del­marva ex­pe­ri­ences a lower amount of peo­ple who do­nate blood in the sum­mer for a cou­ple of rea­sons, said Michael Waite, direc­tor of mar­ket­ing and com­mu­nity re­la­tions for the Blood Bank.

He said peo­ple are busier, take va­ca­tions and do not think about do­nat­ing. The sec­ond rea­son is be­cause schools and col­leges are not in ses­sion, he said.

“Ap­prox­i­mately 12 to 13 per­cent of our to­tal blood vol­ume for the year comes from high school and col­lege drives,” Waite said in an email. “With schools be­ing out of ses­sion for the sum­mer, we are chal­lenged to re­place those donors which is one of the rea­sons we con­duct our Sum­mer Blood Chal­lenge. We need to re­place those stu­dent donors dur­ing the sum­mer months.”

Waite said in an email that the blood bank has seen a 10 per­cent de­crease in do­na­tions in the past few sum­mers. That com­bined with an al­most 13 per­cent re­duc­tion in do­na­tions this year, Jan 1. to July 5, com­pared to the

CE­CIL COUNTY

same time last year, fur­ther high­lights the need to do­nate, he said.

He said this is a “per­sonal gift” that some­one can give to an­other be­cause their do­na­tion can help up to three lives. Many med­i­cal pro­ce­dures re­quire blood trans­fu­sions, and many pa­tients are in need of blood in­clud­ing those with cancer, trauma and burn vic­tims and women who have given birth, among oth­ers.

But about 65 per­cent of the na­tion­wide pop­u­la­tion is un­able to do­nate, 35 per­cent is able to do­nate and about 5 per­cent of that 35 per­cent ac­tu­ally do­nate blood, Waite said. It takes 350 do­na­tions a day to keep the blood sup­ply ad­e­quate, he added, not­ing that the Del­marva blood bank serves 18 hos­pi­tals lo­cated in Delaware, Mary­land and Vir­ginia.

Waite said O neg­a­tive is the most in de­mand blood type by hos­pi­tals be­cause it’s the uni­ver­sal type and can be used in sit­u­a­tions when doc­tors do not know some­one’s blood type in a med­i­cal emer­gency. He said one in 15 peo­ple are O neg­a­tive, mak­ing it rare.

Donors can sched­ule an ap­point­ment on­line or by phone. The en­tire process takes about an hour with re­cep­tion, re­view­ing ma­te­rial, a mini- phys­i­cal, and ques­tions to as­sess eli­gi­bil­ity to do­nate. The ac- tual do­na­tion takes 10 to 15 min­utes, de­pend­ing on how fast a per­son bleeds, Waite said. Af­ter the do­na­tion, donors go to the can­teen area for 15 min­utes to eat cook­ies and hy­drate be­fore leav­ing.

Lo­cal res­i­dents stopped in Elkton gave a va­ri­ety of rea­sons for why they haven’t given blood as of­ten in re­cent years.

Elkton res­i­dent Char­lotte Ledaum said she gave blood two years ago be­fore mov­ing to the area from Delaware. Although, Ledaum hasn’t do­nated blood in the past two years, she used to give an­nu­ally.

”I just haven’t got­ten around to it,” she said.

Ledaum said know­ing she is help­ing oth­ers through do­nat­ing blood makes her feel “re­ally great.” She said she likes know­ing her do­na­tions are go­ing to­ward those who need it.

” It makes me feel re­ally great that I can help some­body,” she said.

Ledaum said she would do­nate blood in the fu­ture if she knew of places where she could do­nate.

Mean­while, Ne­wark, Del., res­i­dent Jaime Men­tons said she has given blood about four times in the past, but has stopped due to hav­ing small veins. She said do­nat­ing was a dif fi­cult process and if it wasn’t such a prob­lem, she would do­nate again.

Although, she does not give blood any­more, Men­tons does en­cour­age oth­ers to do­nate and shares the im­por­tance of blood banks.

” It’s a won­der­ful feel­ing,” Men­tons said.

Blood donors can go to one of five per­ma­nent cen­ters lo­cated in Ne­wark, Del.; Wilm­ing­ton, Del.; Dover, Del.; Sal­is­bury and Chadds Ford, Pa. For those who would like to do­nate in Ce­cil County, a blood drive is sched­uled at the Singerly Fire Hall in Elkton from 1 to 6 p. m. Tues­day, July 12.

NE­WARK POST FILE PHOTO

Paula En­nis, recre­ation su­per­vi­sor in the Ne­wark, Del., parks and recre­ation depart­ment, gets her blood drawn dur­ing the city’s blood drive as part of the Blood Bank of Del­marva’s sum­mer blood chal­lenge in 2014.

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