As the anniversary of September 11, 2001 approaches, Sampson Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is set to offer the Sampson community a way to mark the day in both a meaningful and helpful way.
The hospital will hold a two-day 9/11 Tribute Blood Drive on Tuesday, Sept. 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., an event that will provide a way for the local blood bank to build up its blood supply while also giving the community the opportunity to recognize or remember local heroes.
“We felt it would be a fitting tribute. I think people are looking for something that resonates with them,” shared Amber Cava, Director of Marketing and Community Relations/Foundation for the hospital. “Lots of people went to give blood that day (9/11) and people feel pride in doing something memorable, something good…Donating blood is a way to give life.”
Individuals who come and donate during the blood drive can walk-in without an appointment and will be able to do so in the name of a specific person. Cava noted that donating blood would be a special way to pay tribute to Sampson’s many local heroes — first responders, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and medical professionals.
Debbie Finney, a registered nurse with the SRMC Blood Donor Center, added that blood donations will also help fill a current need.
When asked how great the need for blood currently is, Finney replied, “Very.”
“That usually happens around this time of year — during the summer — as people are gone on vacation and the number of our donors goes down,” Finney explained. “We’re needing it pretty bad.”
“Schools being back (in session) will help some because we do blood drives at schools, but we usually wait until later,” continued Finney. “We give them a couple of months to get settled in.”
Although needed, the local blood bank’s supply isn’t at a critical point yet, stressed Cava, but the hospital staff wants to “maintain a good supply,” particularly since its one of just three hospitals in the state that has its own blood bank and donor program.
“We’re self-sufficient,” Cava noted. “The blood that is donated here stays local and supports the needs of people’s family, friends, neighbors, people they go to church with.”
Maintaining that stock of blood is important because, while a rare occurrence, ordering blood from other facilities is often a challenge.
“It’s hard to get from other locations. The need usually isn’t just here in the county. It runs in trends so everyone is usually in the same boat,” Finney explained.
In encouraging the community to come out and participate in the drive, Finney pointed out that many in the community can donate. “There’s a misconception out there that if you have diabetes or high blood pressure that you can’t donate, but that’s not true. If you have diabetes and I get blood from you, I’m not going to get diabetes.”
For those willing to give of themselves to help others, Finney noted that it only takes 30 to 45 minutes to donate and suggested that donors “have a good meal prior to donating. I’d say two hours prior.”
Also, individuals “cannot donate if they’re on antibiotics, steroids, or a prescription blood thinner,” she reminded.
“Blood isn’t something that can be made. It has to come from another person,” stressed Finney, mentioning that some of the hospital’s longtime faithful donors are now older and are starting to have health problems. “We’re not having those younger replacements to come in and when I say young, I mean those even in their forties and fifties. I suppose it’s because our morals have changed and people tend to think, ‘Well they’ll get it from somewhere’ but that somewhere has to be another person.”
The 9/11 Tribute Blood Drive will be held at SRMC Blood Donor Center located at the Outpatient Diagnostics Center at 233 Beaman St., Clinton.
For more information about the hospital’s Blood Donor Center, visit www.sampsonrmc.org/services/blood_bank.aspx.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.