Blood donations can mean life for many people, from cancer patients to accident victims. And this summer, the Blood Bank of Delmarva will tour Delaware to make giving quick and easy. The nearest regular donation center is in Salisbury, Md., but locals will get the convenience of the mobile blood donation site coming to the coastal community on two days this month.
“This is the most personal philanthropy that you will ever do,” said Michael Waite, the blood bank’s director of marketing and community relations. “Most civic organizations will ask for financial donations. We don’t.”
Mobile locations this year include St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach on Friday, June 22, and Selbyville Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, June 27. Appointments are recommended.
An average of 350 donors are needed each and every day to ensure a sufficient blood supply on Delmarva. Blood collected at the community mobile helps others in need nearby. Often, complications in childbirth require blood transfusions, and chemotherapy patients need platelets to thicken their blood and prevent bleeding. Those are just two of the situations in which the blood supply can save lives.
“Know that it has a direct impact on somebody’s life … making sure they’re around for another day,” said Waite, describing the many medical emergencies that require blood transfusions.
Waite noted that about 65 percent of people cannot donate blood because of various restrictions, anything from illness to recent tattoos.
“Out of the actual 35 percent that can give, only 5 percent do,” Waite emphasized. “[They are] keeping 100 percent of the population in blood, which is why it’s important for us to reach out to those who can … and try to educate them.”
The Blood Bank of Delmarva is the only blood supplier for 16 peninsula hospitals. Founded in 1954, the non-profit organization began collecting and storing samples as a “wet bank” in 1971.
The blood bank needs more than 77,000 donations each year to accommodate about 20,000 patients. All donations are tested according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s strict guidelines.
“You can sleep soundly, knowing the blood supply is safe, because of those regulations,” said Waite.
The standard donation session lasts about an hour. People will go in, learn about blood donation, determine their eligibility to donate and complete the procedure, which takes less than 10 minutes. Everyone reenergizes over juice and cookies before leaving. People should be fine to drive themselves and will not need another ride, Waite said.
Appointments are strongly recommended for the convenience of the donors, although workers will try to accommodate walk-ins. To schedule an appointment, call 1-888-8-BLOOD-8, and learn more online at www.delmarvablood.org.