The CB Group partnered with the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) recently to host its blood drive in an attempt to boost the national blood supply amid donor hesitancy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forty-eight members supported the cause and donated 21 units of blood. The blood drive was held at the agribusiness’ group office at 27 Upper Waterloo Road in St Andrew.
Roxanne Isaacs, community outreach coordinator at CB Group, said, “Hosting a blood drive is nothing new to us at CB Group. Donating blood is simply one of the ways we give back to our community and make a difference for people. We’ve hosted a number of blood drives over the years for our CBG family and some that welcome our wider network to support”.
“We have had situations where our staff and their families were in need of blood and we as a group stepped up to the cause – that is the power of a community that cares. But there’s no reason to wait until someone we know is in need. We know that Jamaica is in need and that our donation, no matter how small, can make a difference in someone’s life,” she continued.
For Desrick Hamilton, a 2017 CB Pan Chicken competition finalist, with the rare blood type AB, the decision to donate a third time was an easy one.
“ A lot of people in the hospital need [this blood type] so I try to give it as much as I can. It’s a joy for me to give and help someone who desperately needs it,” he said.
First-time donor, Diona Sutherland, a customer care coordinator at Nutramix, shared similar sentiments.
“These last few days I have been scrolling on Instagram and saw people asking for blood donations and I felt compelled to donate and make a difference. For a first timer, I was nervous but knowing that this is what I wanted to do, it helped me to relax and trust the process,” she said.
Last year in April, the blood bank reported that there was a significant shortage of blood supply across the island due to the pandemic, which resulted in over 20 blood drives being cancelled.
But according to Keishawna Pinnock, assistant blood donor organiser at NBTS, while the numbers have marginally increased due to sensitisation led by the blood bank and the private sector, there is still donor hesitancy when it comes to donating amid the pandemic.
“There was a drop in the corporate blood drives, and most of the time at collection centres there are replacement donors who donate to family or loved ones,” she said, adding that voluntary donors can help save up to three lives with one blood donation.
“Each person can only give one unit of blood at a time but you spend 45 minutes to an hour every three months saving lives…You’re giving so much to people that are in need that you don’t even know. We never know what the future holds and a blood donor today might be the recipient of blood tomorrow, or even their family members or loved ones. Even if you yourself are not able to give blood, there are many ways to help, such as helping to spread the word or hosting a blood drive,” Pinnock implored.
She further added that other benefits to donating include identifying adverse health effects through the physical examination and blood test, reducing cholesterol, burning calories, and reducing the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and stroke in men as each donation reduces iron level.