by Donella Hosten
25 longstanding and dedicated blood donors were recognised for their contributions, as part of the celebrations for World Blood Donor Day, at the National Stadium Conference Room, on Wednesday, 14 June.
Nurse Karen Jolly, Blood Procurement Officer, General Hospital stressed the need for voluntary blood donors, as they are the “foundation of a safe and sustainable blood supply.”
Cindy Nedd, a 25-year-old recipient of blood, told the audience about her Rheumatic heart disease and Sickle Cell conditions that require her to receive blood at least 4 times a year.
She stated that although it was frustrating as a young person, unemployed due to her condition, she said, “I still don’t give up.” She said at times she is so weak that she sleeps until midday. The ordeal of having to ask persons for blood, was more than frustrating for the young woman. She was even turned down by family members, citing silly excuses.
A smiling Nedd profusely thanked the donors who have assisted her over the years. “To me, you are like my superheroes.” She urged persons who were not yet donors to give blood and save a life.
Also addressing the audience and giving their experience as donors, were Genevieve Gibbs and Andy Murray.
Gibbs’ donor journey began August 2005 when a close friend of hers fainted due to low haemoglobin. She volunteered without hesitation and to date, continues to solicit new donors, as she stated, “there’s a boundless need for blood at all times.”
Murray became a donor after his wife fell ill, had to have an operation and needed 6 pints of blood. For him, it’s an honour to be a donor and he always looks forward to giving.
Permanent Secretary at the Department of Public Administration (DPA), Ann Brizan, spoke about the partnership between her department and the Friends of the Blood Bank. They ran a blood drive last year, through which several workers pledged their commitment to become donors.
Over the years Nurse Jolly has worked tirelessly to get persons to give and to continue giving blood. Her hard work and dedication were recognised and awarded, and she was presented with a surprise token of appreciation. An undisclosed financial contribution for the Blood Bank was also presented to Nurse Jolly.