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Be an informed blood donor

November 20, 2013
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

I compliment anyone and everyone who donates their blood to a person they don't even know. The world's entire blood bank inventory depends on those generous individuals who unselfishly give the gift of life with a warm and loving heart. I can't thank you enough for your most valuable gift the gift of healing and the gift of life. You all are very special and valuable people.

Lee County has two visible blood donor recruitment organizations. One is Lee Memorial Health System which includes the Purple Bus, and the other is One Blood (formerly Florida Blood Services) which includes the Big Red Bus. Both organizations work equally hard to get blood donors to donate.

I feel you, as a blood donor, should know where your blood goes after it is donated. If you strongly feel you want your blood to help local individuals in our own community of Lee County, then you might want to choose to donate your blood with Lee Memorial Health System. If you don't have a preference and are satisfied knowing your blood will be going to a needy individual outside of Lee County, then by all means feel free to donate with One Blood.

Both the LMHS Blood Center and One Blood are non-profit organizations. However, blood donated through One Blood supplies many hospitals throughout the state of Florida, primarily in Orlando and Miami. Lee County (other than Lehigh) does not get any blood donated through One Blood. One Blood is the competition for LMHS in Lee County. A unit of blood donated through One Blood on the Big Red Bus is one less unit LMHS could have in its own blood bank for use by residents in Lee County.

Lee Memorial Health System owns all four major hospitals in Lee County (Lee Memorial, Gulf Coast, Health Park and Cape Coral) and the blood used by those hospitals is supplied primarily by the generosity of the residents of Lee County who donate their blood at any of the four hospital-based donor centers, or on any of the mobile Purple Bus Blood Drives. When the LMHS blood supply is short, blood is purchased from other sources like Sarasota Blood Center, or even from out-of-state blood centers.

So, wherever you choose to donate blood, I thank you. In the upcoming weeks, there are two Pine Island opportunities to donate blood on the LMHS mobile Purple Bus:

* Saturday Nov. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pine Island Elks, 5630 Pine Island Road Bokeelia (near the Circle K). Each donor will receive a free pancake & sausage breakfast and a t-shirt

* Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pine Island Moose Lodge, 8903 Stringfellow Road, St. James City.

Pat Cordy

CCH Lab Tech

St. James City resident



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