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Community Leaders Support 'Heroes' Blood Drive

By ALESHA CADET

Tribune Features Reporter

acadet@tribunemedia.net

Despite not reaching its goal of collecting 100 pints, the Rotaract Club of South East Nassau Centennial's recent "Gift of Life" blood drive can be described in no other way than as a success, said organisers.

The months of intense planning culminated in an event held at the NUA Insurance Agents and Brokers in the Harbour Bay Plaza. Organisers are certain the initiative will assist in saving lives in a tangible way.

Held in conjunction with the Rotaract Club of Stabroek Guyana, Rotaract Club of Antigua, the Princess Margaret Hospital Blood Bank, Doctors Hospital Blood Bank, Friends of the Blood Bank, One Blood, Unity Blood Drive, and the Bahamas Red Cross, the blood drive was hosted under the theme "Be a Hero - Be a Donor."

Highlights throughout the course of the day included informative distributions, raffles, a live remote courtesy of KISS 96 and Y98, appearances and volunteers from a number of organisations such as the Rotary and Rotaract Club of East Nassau, Rotaract Club of Nassau Sunset, and the Gold Award Holder's Association of the Governor General's Youth Award assisting in recruiting donors.

Through it all, however, it was the Interact clubs that truly shone the brightest. The Interact Club of Doris Johnson and the Interact Club of St Andrew's made their impact known as they moved throughout the plaza recruiting "heroes" to donate blood. Later in the afternoon, Mary E Lightbourne-Walker, hospital administrator at PMH visited to show her support and give her thanks for the work that is being done to raise awareness and promote blood donation throughout the year.

Bahamian artist Chloe Campbell made an appearance to show her support, encouraging other Bahamians to come out and give the gift of life. Additionally, one lucky donor won a brand new phone courtesy of Aliv. The event's target was a goal of 100 blood pints.

"We were unable to reach the goal of 100 pints, however, we raised 58 pints of blood locally for our blood bank partners, that will save the lives of many. We received a great deal of positive feedback, with regards to the planning and execution of the blood drive. A significant amount of persons that were present could not donate, whether it be new tattoos, new piercings, low iron, or a variety of other reasons. We are not discouraged in the slightest, and will be working alongside our blood bank partners again next year to encourage more Bahamians to donate blood," said Deshawn McGregor, RSENC community service director.

Grateful for the support from additional partners such as NUA, Caribbean Bottling Company, Sands Beer, and Auto Mall, Mr McGregor said without them they could not have made the day as successful as it was. Even on the day at the event, Rotaract team members were approached by other organisations who understood the importance of donating blood and said they were eager to partner for the next blood drive, at which time they all hope to exceed the 100-pint target.

"At the blood drive donors made it abundantly clear the environment was comfortable, staff professional and the process painless. We would randomly ask a few donors how did they hear about the blood drive, and it was refreshing to hear that our promotional campaign in The Tribune, on "Bahamas at Sunrise", on Star 106.5 prior to the event and the live remote with KISS and Y98 had brought persons to the event. I also believe the holiday season might have encouraged a few persons who may not normally donate to give the best gift, the gift of life," said Mr McGregor.

"We emphasised that the blood banks are always in need of blood, however, at certain times of year, Christmas being one of them, the need increases drastically. It is the sincere hope of the Rotaract Club of South East Nassau Centennial that during this holiday season we have encouraged more Bahamians to donate blood, as the life you save could be your very own."

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