More than thirty years ago, as a newborn, my son had a medical challenge that meant he needed a complete blood transfusion. Many family members and friends gave blood on his behalf, but none of them had his blood type, which is not a common type in Jamaica. There were no units of that blood type in the blood bank system at the time, which was obviously very frightening for us. However, the staff at the blood collection centre at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) knew of a blood donor with that blood type on campus. They contacted her and asked if she would be willing to make a donation and she was. My son had his blood transfusion, which gave his tiny body a better chance of overcoming the challenges he faced. And all these years later, he is a healthy, grown man, making his contribution to society!
Over the years, I have thought with gratitude of that blood donor who willingly answered the call she got, and in doing so gave an invaluable gift to my son, me and my family. My son has become a blood donor himself and a few times we have actually gone together to the collection centre at UHWI to make blood donations. It’s a way of passing the gift along.
So today on World Blood Donor Day 2017, I’d like to celebrate all those who give blood, and to support the campaign message to #GiveBlood, #GiveNow, #GiveOftenAnd if you aren’t able to donate blood yourself, share the message and encourage others to donate!
Check out the National Blood Transfusion Service website to get more information about giving blood in Jamaica.Have a look at the PAHO/WHO web page to find more information about blood donation in the region.And in ending, I want to congratulate my youngest brother, David, who is a long-term, repeat blood donor. He has given blood more frequently than anyone else I know personally and his commitment is very inspiring!