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Top female donor appeals for more blood donations

Published:Monday | December 19, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Sonia Binns Lawrence

Seven pints shy of 100 donations, Jamaica's leading female blood donor Sonya Binns Lawrence is encouraging Jamaicans, especially at this time of the year, to "give the gift that costs nothing to give".

"We have to go ahead and save some lives; the gift of blood is the gift of life. Blood donors are special people," she told The Gleaner yesterday.

Binns' appeal resonates with that of Igol Allen, National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) blood donor organiser, who yesterday encouraged persons to come out and donate "so we may better serve our stakeholders".

"The country, as a whole, needs a culture change as it relates to blood donation," he said, noting that there is the need for more Jamaicans to donate the precious fluid.

While the NBTS is not at critical levels at this time, Allen said December, January and September are months when the flow of blood donation is reduced.

"We try as best as possible to plan for those down times, so we would encourage persons to come in and donate voluntarily at this time," he said.

Binns Lawrence, who made her 93rd donation earlier this month, said she was determined to go for the century.


Lied to give blood


For Binns Lawrence, it all started in July 1983 when she went to the then Blood Bank to donate blood for her sister, who was having a baby.

However, she was first met with disappointment when she was told that only persons 18 years and older could make blood donations.

Determined to make the donation, Binns Lawrence, who was 17 years old at the time, bamboozled her way into giving blood.

"... I was 18, I lied; I wanted to give the blood so badly for her," she said.

Binns Lawrence told The Gleaner that it was years after her first donation, while she was working at the Blood Bank, that she realised that giving blood was not painful, "so I started giving and enjoying it and I told myself I am going to try and give every three months.

"I count down the weeks, I count down the days to give blood," she said.

The committed blood donor said she was one year and six months from her milestone hundredth donation.

"I want to do a big mobile [blood donation] on my 100th donation; I want all of my friends and family and well-wishers to donate on that day. That day is going to be a great day for the Blood Bank. I want 100 units of blood to be donated on that day," she said.