Director of the National Laboratory Services, Dr. Michelle Hamilton, is calling on young people to voluntarily give blood and to also encourage their peers to donate.
“It has been well recognised that the best way of sustaining a blood donation system is through voluntary blood donors and so we are asking persons to donate. In several territories, blood is given 100 per cent by voluntary blood donors,” she said.
Dr. Hamilton was addressing the World Blood Donor Day Donor Awards held at the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) in Kingston on Monday (June 14).
Among those recognised was Prime Minister’s Youth Awardee and Founder and Manager, I Have a Heart Foundation, Abi-Gaye Smythe, who has hosted seven blood drives.
A cardiac patient, Ms. Smythe is unable to donate, but needs blood each time she has to do an operation.
A total of 184 units of blood have been collected from these drives, which could have already saved 552 lives.
Ms. Smythe said that by organising the blood drives, she is performing “her civic duty of helping my fellow men”.
For her part, Jamaica’s Top Blood Donor, Sonya Binns Lawrence, said it is a “blessing” for her to contribute by giving blood.
“For me, it has been a wonderful journey. It has been a good journey and I want to encourage donors. God has given us this chance to give back to our community and be a blessing to others,” Mrs. Binns Lawrence said.
She is encouraging more persons to become regular donors. “It is a good, healthy habit to pick up. I’ve never had any negative effects. All you have to do is eat right, get a lot of rest, take your iron tablets or food that gives you iron and you are good to go,” she advised.
To date, Mrs. Binns Lawrence has donated 111 units of blood, which would have saved 333 lives.
World Blood Donor Day, observed on June 14 each year, aims to raise global awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products for transfusion and of the critical contribution voluntary unpaid blood donors make to national health systems.
This year’s slogan was ‘Give blood and keep the world beating’, with special focus placed on the role of young people in ensuring a safe blood supply through voluntary non-remunerated blood donations.