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Sonya Binns-Lawrence commemorates 100th blood donation - Rotaract Club urges Jamaicans to make a difference with regular deposits

Published:Tuesday | October 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMMaurice Silvera/Gleaner Writer
Sonya Binns-Lawrence (right) is all smiles as she is about to give her 100th donation of blood. Nurse Esther Campbell (left) makes preparations as Sherika Watson, president of the Rotary Club of St Andrew, looks on. The blood drive was held at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church, St Andrew, yesterday.

Nine years ago, the Rotaract Club of St Andrew started its semi-annual blood drive after a club member expressed a desperate need for blood for a relative fighting the pangs of cancer.

That relative unfortunately died from the disease, but with more than 540 units collected from the initiative over the years, the club's president, Sherika Watson, is confident its efforts have saved the lives of more than 1,600 others.

"We started the drive to give back to that individual, but then we realised that it was a real, real need and that it is something that can really save lives. So that is how it started," said Watson, who yesterday spent hours attending to 'heroes' who turned out to give blood at the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Andrew.

"We have been doing this initiative for nine years, and I guess the greatest challenge is getting enough donors to come out. We get donors, but not everybody that comes out can donate," she said, noting that some women with low iron level and persons who smoke, among other things, are not permitted to give blood.

For that reason, those wishing to give blood are urged to ensure that their iron levels are up and not to smoke leading up to the donation, she said, adding that marijuana smoking is especially prohibited.




"Giving blood is almost synonymous to having a regular bank account, so that in the event that you know somebody or you want to save a life, all of that blood that you've donated is in your account to help them," continued Watson, urging more young Jamaicans to give blood.

Yesterday, Sonya Binns-Lawrence, a member of the Kencot Seventh-day Adventist Church, was praised as a hero as she donated blood for the 100th time.

Binns-Lawrence has been giving blood since the 1980s. She was lauded at the church yesterday.

"I feel energetic and alive, and I feel like I have accomplished a lot by helping others who really need it. It is good to open a blood bank account. You help to ensure that blood is available whenever you or your loved ones need it. Don't wait until the appointed time," said Binns-Lawrence, inviting several of her relatives to give blood.

She continued, "I would encourage people so they know that the blood they give today may save their life tomorrow. It is good to give. You do not have to jump into a burning building to save someone. You can make a difference in your little corner by giving blood."