Help save lives by donating blood

Help save lives by donating blood

(Jan. 16, 2015) Each person who donates blood will help save three lives when the Blood Bank of Delmarva’s OC Cares Blood Drive returns to the Ocean City convention center for the 17th year on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

“Blood donations can slow during the winter months, which makes the OC Cares Blood Drive so crucial to the members of the surrounding community,” said Michael Waite, BBD director of marketing and community relations, in a release.

In previous years, the blood drive was held over a two-day period. For 2015, organizers have condensed it to one day with extended hours to better meet donor’s schedules.

“It is a challenge, we have found ourselves in a pickle, which I like to call the perfect storm,” Waite said. “The holidays were in the middle of the week this year and people forget we are here. In addition, to an awful flu going around. Unfortunate incidences have caused a more than usual usage of blood and we’re in a tough position right now.”

Since its inception, the Blood Bank of Delmarva has collected blood from 7,576 donors at this event. Every year, organizers set a goal and at least 500 people need to sign up in order to reach it in 2015.

In 2014, during a two-day drive, 470 people donated blood, which resulted in 414 units being collected.

Weather was a major factor in last year’s numbers, Waite said.

“Had the weather been more cooperative, we would have seen a better turnout,” he said.

Donating blood only takes about 5-7 minutes, but the entire appointment takes about an hour. The donation appointment includes a mini-physical (blood pressure, temperature and pulse), medical history review, giving blood and post-donation refreshments.

“With this one blood drive, residents of Ocean City and its surrounding areas can help supply the blood needs of the hospitals on the shore during a critical time of year,” said Suzanne Murray, BDD account executive, in a release. 

All donors will receive a chance to win a flat screen television, in addition to other prizes.

Members of the Ocean Pines Kiwanis Club are volunteering at the event and many local businesses will be providing free refreshments for donors to enjoy after giving blood.

The businesses and food provided will include pizza from the Dough Roller, doughnuts from Wawa and chocolates and candy from Candy Kitchen and Wockenfuss. Applebee’s will provide brownies; coffee and hot tea will be available from Centerplace Catering and the Worcester County Girl Scouts have donated 15 cases of cookies for the event.

All blood types are urged to schedule an appointment in order to ensure an adequate supply of blood for all patients during the winter months. Every blood donation saves three lives in the community.

Anyone who is between the ages of 17 and 79 years old (ages 80 and older should contact the Blood Bank of Delmarva eligibility coordinator at 1-888 8-BLOOD-8 for medical approval), weighs at least 110 pounds, is in general good health, and meets the minimum eligibility requirements may give blood as often as every 56 days. All donors must provide a photo ID or two other forms of identification, including date of birth.

Organizers ask people who have active cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever or sore throat on donation day to choose another time to donate. Those on antibiotics for infection must wait 24 hours after they are finished to give blood.

Donors who got a tattoo or body piercing must wait 12 months to donate.

Those who have travelled to certain parts of the world may be deferred due to a potential risk of contracting an infection that may be transmitted through blood transfusion.

A few tips for giving blood are to stay hydrated and drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day leading up to the blood donation, avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks and get a good night’s sleep. Eat a substantial meal within three hours before giving blood and afterward avoid participating in strenuous physical labor or athletic activities for 24 hours. Resume normal activities the next day.

The blood drive will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the convention center inside Dockside Hall on 40th Street, and walk-in donors are welcome.

To schedule an appointment, visit www.DelmarvaBlood.org or call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8.

Blood Bank of Delmarva is a non-profit, community service program that provides blood for hospitals in the region. The organization provides the majority supply of blood for 18 hospitals and a few secondary ones. More than 350 blood donors are needed every day to meet the needs of patients at these hospitals.

“We welcome people with open arms for this critical mission to have blood on the shelves for traumas and surgeries,” Waite said. “Giving blood is the most personal and satisfying philanthropy to experience because you are giving a part of yourself.”

Ami Reist of Ocean Pines donates blood during
the 2014 OC Cares Blood Drive held by the Blood
Bank of Delmarva.

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