If you go
This month, the Blood Center is offering donors an extra sweet deal, a $5 gift card to Sugar Plum Cafe & Bakery. Plus, each donor will be entered to win the summer grand prize, a two-day pass to Busch Gardens for four with an overnight stay at Wingate by Windham in Tampa.
Bonita Springs and Estero residents may donate blood at the Bonita Springs fixed donation site in the Sunshine Plaza at 9170 Bonita Beach Road. The center is open every Monday, Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more blood drive dates and locations, visit www.givebloodcbc.org.
Like most regions around the nation, Southwest Florida is in need of blood.
“Blood supplies really have dwindled,” said Karen Monzone, senior donor recruiter with the Community Blood Center.
The center particularly needs blood types O and A, especially from individuals who are Rh negative, she said. “We are extremely low on those, and we are fighting to keep them in the door on a daily basis.”
To entice donors, the Blood Center has partnered with local businesses, offering potential donors everything from free pastries and children’s health exams to a chance at winning tickets for four to Busch Gardens.
Most donors, however, say they’re doing it just to help out.
“It’s always needed,” said Mario Wolansky, who randomly stopped by the bloodmobile parked at the North Naples Starbucks near Immokalee Road and U.S. 41 Saturday. “I don’t think enough people do it.”
Rick Blair showed up to donate in response to a telephone plea from the Blood Center.
“I always try to give blood whenever I can,” said Blair, who has donated regularly since the late 1980s. “I didn’t pass out or die the first time, so I decided I’d keep doing it.”
The Blood Center needs more regular donors like Blair, Monzone said.
“We have some of our donors who come in like clockwork: Every eight weeks, they’re there,” she said. “For every donation, they’re potentially saving three lives.”
All blood collected by the Community Blood Center goes to the four hospitals in Collier County, where someone receives a blood transfusion every 20 minutes.
“It might help your friend, your neighbor or even yourself,” Monzone points out. “You can have a significant impact on life in this county just by making a donation.”
Nicole Sandhu has been a regular blood donor for years. She resumed blood donation Saturday after a break during pregnancy.
“It’s something that’s so simple,” Sandhu said. “It gives the everyday person the opportunity to really make a difference in someone’s life. If you can take 10 minutes out of your day and maybe save three lives, why wouldn’t you do it?”
The actual donation usually takes less than 10 minutes, but the Blood Center advises donors to allow 45 minutes to complete paperwork and a mini-physical. Donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh more than 110 pounds and be in good general health.
Just three percent of the U.S. population donates blood, although 38 percent are qualified. In Southwest Florida, blood supplies typically dwindle during the busy summer months when snowbirds are away, Monzone said.
Local businesses have generously responded. Anchor Health Center held a back-to-school event, offering free physicals for children while parents were encouraged to donate blood.
“A lot of them were new donors and had never donated before,” Monzone said.