These days, sometimes all it takes to get free stuff is a little bit of blood. And since many people were willing to share it by the pintloads, they were lucky enough to earn tickets to see a movie.
That was the theme of the Community Blood Center Bloodmobile, an affiliate of NCH, which recently made the rounds at Regal Hollywood 20 movie theater. Community members flocked to the Bloodmobile during New Year’s weekend all while rolling up their sleeves to give back to the community. Every successful donor received a free movie ticket for sharing their life-saving blood.
Preparing to give blood, while filling out donor forms, David Swanson of North Naples said his reason for donating blood was a simple one. “It helps the community, and I get a free movie ticket,” Swanson said smiling.
The best part, according to the Bloodmobile officials, is that the blood collected here stays in the community. Donor blood goes to patients in need during an emergency, premature infants, cancer patients, trauma patients and those enduring medical treatments. Officials said the demand is high for blood at this time of year due to an influx of visitors to Southwest Florida, especially in winter months.
“I hate needles,” whispered 9-year-old Riley Herzer, cringing as he watched his mother Lori Herzer give blood inside the Bloodmobile, patiently waiting a few minutes for the procedure.
“My mom was a regular donor and I used to do this back in California. When I moved here, I continued to give blood for the past three years. It’s very important to donate your blood. For just a few minutes, it saves someone else’s entire lifetime,” Lori Herzer explained of what motivates her to be a repeat donor.
Herzer’s words of encouragement to potential donors resonates in the following facts from the Florida Blood Center:
• More than 4.5 million patients need blood transfusions each year in the U.S. and Canada.
• 43,000 pints: amount of donated blood used each day in the U.S. and Canada.
• Someone needs blood every two seconds.
• Only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood – less than 10 percent do annually.
• About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood.
• One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
• Healthy adults who are at least 16 years old (with parental permission), and at least 102 pounds may donate about a pint of blood – the most common form of donation – every 56 days, or every two months.
• 17 percent of non-donors cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not giving, while 15 percent say they’re too busy.
• Shortages of all blood types happen during the summer and winter holidays.
• There is no substitute for human blood.
• If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event (the current average is about two).
Although Laura Rosen, community relations manager with the Community Blood Center, is pleased with the number of donors that came out in 2011, she is encouraging donors to come into the center more often to add to reserves, and prevent blood shortages in 2012.
“We’re hoping for a 5 percent increase in the number of donors to offset the expected usage for 2012,” Rosen said from inside the Bloodmobile. “If everyone who is eligible to donate can give one more donation, then we can strive to reach that goal in 2012.”
Missed the last blood drive, but ready to attend the next event? The next blood drive will be Feb. 24 and 25 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Regal Hollywood 20. Visit www.givebloodcbc.org for more information.