Blood Bank always looking for new donors

| 13/06/2017
CNS Local Life

Cancer patient and former blood donor Virginia Castillo now benefits from transfusions

(CNS Local Life): The campaign for this year’s World Blood Donor Day, which is recognised every 14 June, urges people to “Give blood. Give now. Give often.” The campaign focuses on blood donations in emergencies and encourages persons not to wait until disaster strikes to donate. Caymanian Virginia Castillo lived that theme as one of the Cayman Islands Blood Bank’s dedicated donors from 1997 until she was diagnosed with cancer last year.

She has always believed that donating blood was an act of kindness every one in good health should do for others, stated a Health Services Authority press release. “Blood is a gift you can give back. It does not cost you anything and does not negatively affect your own health,” she said. Castillo donated three times a year on average and said her experiences had always been pleasant. “The blood bank staff honours your time, so you’re in and out quickly,” she said.

Prior to being diagnosed in 2016 with serous peritoneal carcinoma, cancer of the cells lining the abdominal cavity, Castillo never expected to be a blood-transfusion recipient. Despite her situation, she said, “It was a positive experience being a donor for so many years and I am glad I paid it forward. I now depend on the generosity of other blood donors who, like myself, see the importance it plays in the lives of so many,” she added.

Castillo said she hopes her story will inspire others to become donors. “People never know when they, or a loved one, may need a blood transfusion,” she added.

Transfusions of blood and blood products help to save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and childbirth. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and achieve a higher quality of life. It is also used to support complex medical and surgical procedures.

In its mission to achieve its goal of 500 new registered donors by the end of 2017, the Blood Bank has hosted blood drives at various companies, and received support from such organisations as the Rotary and Rotaract clubs in Cayman.

“We set an ambitious target of 500 new donors for the year 2017,” Judith Clarke, laboratory manager at the Cayman Islands Hospital, said. “Presently, we can celebrate 375 new donors from across our responsive community of corporate stakeholders, guest workers, young people, service clubs, churches and civil servants.

“Our national Blood Bank cannot thank our donors enough for all the lives that have been saved and for helping to prepare for the unforeseen. We look forward to meeting our life-saving target long before the end of the year. By that time we will have met, or even surpassed, the Pan American Health Organization’s ideal for us to collect blood representing a 2% minimum of the population. Thank you Cayman.”

As part of its registration drive, the Blood Bank will be at the staff entrance to the Government Administration Building on Tuesday, 13 June 2017, which will give all ministers and chief officers, as well as civil servants who enter the building, a convenient opportunity to register as donors.

To register to become a blood donor, go to the Blood Bank’s website or call 244 2674  

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Category: Medical and Health

Comments (2)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Get rid of the silly “mad cow” restriction from ages ago and more persons will be available.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I provided life-saving blood donations for many years until I learned that the public blood bank stock was being depleted by the private Shetty business for elective for-profit surgeries. I’m considerably less inclined to risk vein scaring knowing my donation might not be used for the public good or in the manner advertised. Perhaps the blood bank could comment on this?