The Antigua & Barbuda Red Cross is making an urgent plea for corporate citizens to join efforts to raise the level of voluntary donations to the nation’s blood bank amid growing concerns over storage levels at the facility.
The head of the blood donation promotion arm of the Red Cross – Club Lyfe, Michael Joseph, said a commitment from business community to use blood drives as part of their mandate to be good corporate citizens would go a long way in boosting the stock at the sole blood bank at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC).
“Any societal inefficiencies that we hope to successfully overcome must be tackled with the collective responsibility of all stakeholders; blood donation is no different. We urge everyone to make a commitment to save at least one life without being called upon to do so, but out of the spirit of altruism,” Joseph said.
Early this month (May), media reports stated that the family of accident victim Anthony Barrett indicated that they had to resort to sourcing rare O-negative blood needed so he could undergo life-saving surgery overseas.
The blood would have been purchased at a cost of EC $2,050 per pint from Jamaica according to the family.
Joseph said the practice of buying blood should “never be accepted as the norm” since it would mean the more vulnerable in our society would be at risk of losing access to life saving treatment.
“Additionally, not everybody has the time to wait for blood to become available especially during medical emergencies… seconds do count and could mean the difference between seeing your kids graduate or not,” he continued.
Businesses and organisations are already joining the cause with the St John’s Lutheran Church and Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, and the American University of Antigua – College of Medicine planning their own drives.
The most recent drive was held in collaboration with the call centre – Alorica Antigua.
“We are not only about work at our establishment but rather we incorporate every aspect of our lives (work, life and our community). It’s all about how we can make a difference in the world,” representative of the company Ashley Quinland said. “Therefore, it’s all about paying it forward by giving back to our community. We decided to do this drive because we want to give someone another chance at life or the gift of life.”
Companies, organisations and individuals in need of information on how to get involved could contact Club Lyfe (268) 772-2020 or email [email protected]. Individuals can also visit the Club Lyfe Facebook page or website at www.clublyfe.org.
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