Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Giving with love, for life

Published:Thursday | June 2, 2016 | 6:00 AMTamara Bailey

MANDEVILLE, Manchester:

It is a beautiful thing when persons can put aside self to do good for others.

For years, the act of donating blood has been dreaded by individuals who are either ignorant regarding the process, fearful of needles or simply believe some harm may come to them after donating.

But when the Mandeville Regional Hospital hosted its first official blood drive on Monday, the support was tremendous from those who acknowledged that it was more about saving a life than their own fear.

Donor Tamara Smythe-Hugh told Rural Xpress that having recognised how hard it is to convince people to give blood, she had to now lead by example.

"This is my first time giving blood, and it was too easy. I am now willing to give blood anytime. It's very important to give blood because it may even save your life. I have had persons doing surgery who needed blood and I had to get persons to give blood, which is very difficult; but I have no problem convincing people now," she told Rural Xpress.

Phillip Johnson, another donor, though terrified of needles, has always donated blood for relatives, but took the step to make a general donation at the blood drive.

"I have donated blood around 10 times and it has always been a terrifying experience. I am afraid of needles, so the times I have given it was mostly for family and close friends like sisters or females that were having babies. They ask me to donate, but now I am doing this for others. It's for a good cause and its always a good feeling when I donate blood," said Johnson.

Among the significant number of individuals who showed up to donate blood were families who came to support relatives who were ill.

Mary Taylor and five of her relatives travelled as a unit to donate blood, having witnessed first-hand the importance of this deed.

"I give blood every four months. My nephew has a lot of medical issues, and he is on dialysis and needs blood every two weeks, so whenever we can, we always do it. I always encourage people on Facebook and even through my own actions of donating blood to do the same," Taylor said.

As a result of the chronic shortage of blood nationally, board chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority, Wayne Chen, revealed that amid the blood drives conducted islandwide, there is always room for improvement and with the goodwill of citizens towards the health sector, more persons need to champion the cause of donating blood and saving a life.

rural@gleanerjm.com