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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Roye

Give Blood...It's a Gift That Keeps On Giving

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

What do you fear? Heights? Closed spaces? Clowns? Needles?

Fear is always a major factor for people about to undergo surgery. When they come out alive, the relief is always great. Yet, there are times when things go wrong after what is considered a successful surgery. Imagine your sigh of relief turning into panic, as you are told that a loved one who completed surgery is now bleeding and needs to receive blood to survive.

Mrs. Nora Williams, 58, has survived such an experience. She went into surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. After surgery, she started hemorrhaging and needed another surgery to correct what had gone wrong.

“I needed blood, and received it, from someone I did not even know,” states Williams. “I am thankful because if it was not for some voluntary donor, I would not be alive to tell my story.” Through her experience, she understands the importance of blood donors. She smiles as she states, “It is a wonderful thing to help others.”

Now imagine you being that person who needs blood. Without voluntary blood donors, you may not get that critical pint of blood when you need it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Red Cross stipulate that a country should collect blood units equivalent to 5% of its population. However, Jamaica collects an average of 25,000 units of blood annually - 105,000 units less than the stipulated amount. This shortage has led, at the very least, to the postponement of medical procedures, and at the very worst, death.

“We shouldn’t wait until some family member or friend is sick before we decide to give blood. We shouldn’t even wait until there is a national crisis,” states Ms. Sonya Binns, one of the National Blood Transfusion Service’s (NBTS) Champion Donors. Binns, a Phlebotomist, has donated blood 59 times. In explaining her reason for being a voluntary blood donor, she states, “I never gave to receive, but because I knew I was saving someone. The first time I donated blood I was 17 years old. I am now 41,” explains Binns.

With her trademark smile she adds, “Giving blood is a wonderful experience. I tell people all the time that my hobbies are netball, swimming, meeting people and giving blood.”

Another longstanding donor, Mr. Aulous Madden states that he is not fearful of giving blood because sterile equipment is used every time. At age 69, Madden, a chartered accountant, still gives blood. “I give blood because I am concerned about the welfare of others,” says Madden.

Madden also encourages persons to become voluntary donors by explaining the benefits to the donor. “I am told that giving blood has health benefits. It stimulates the production of new blood cells and can lower your risk of heart disease. Therefore, giving blood is a win, win situation.”

So what is your fear? If your fear is needles, then you have nothing to fear, just something to face. According to a Swedish proverb, ‘worry gives a small thing a big shadow’ and unfortunately for many of us, needles are one of those small things with big shadows. Think about it, oftentimes when we receive an injection, it is for our benefit, or for the benefit of others. When you are injected with a needle for blood donation, at the end of it, both you and someone else will benefit.

What are you waiting on to face your fear?

Give blood…It’s a gift that keeps on giving.

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