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Matlacha Hookers host quarterly blood drive

Mangrove Paddling Company, Olde Fish House Marina assist with event

August 16, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Matlacha Hookers teamed up with Mangrove Paddling Company and Olde Fish House Marina Saturday morning for its quarterly blood drive. Fourteen islanders turned out for the drive.

"We're calling this the 'Pint and Paddle Blood Drive,'" Matlacha Hooker DJ Ruscik said. "All donors will receive a voucher for a free one-hour kayak rental from Mangrove Paddling Company and a meal voucher from Olde Fish House."

As part of the blood donation, OneBlood also offers a complete wellness checkup that includes blood pressure, temperature, iron count, pulse and cholesterol screening. And every donor goes home with a Tervis Tumbler from OneBlood.

Article Photos


Helping with the blood drive were, from left, phlebotomist Daniel Gonzales, Matlacha Hooker DJ Ruscik, phlebotomist Nikki Callahan, phlebotomist Nikkie Branch and phlebotomist John Brosnihan.

"One of the reasons we do this is because there's a great need 365 days a year," Ruscik said. "In the summertime, the number of residents goes down but the need stays the same so we do this in August to help keep the blood supply up."

According to the American Red Cross, approximately 30,000 units of red blood are needed every day in the United States; along with nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma.

"Each pint of blood is separated into three components," Ruscik said. "Red blood cells, platelets and plasma. The most needed blood component is red blood cells. These cells transport oxygen through the body and is needed in surgeries. Platelets are needed to prevent and/or stop bleeding in trauma victims and plasma is the liquid part of the blood and needed for our bodies to function."

Platelets have a shelf life of 6 days, red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and plasma lasts up to 12 months.

"We can do two different types of blood donations on this truck," phlebotomist John Brosnihan said. "We can collect whole blood which is about a 5 minute procedure and we also have an automated procedure with a machine called the 'Alyx.' The Alyx 'component collection system' collects twice as many red blood cells as we collect with the whole blood method. Most people call it the 'double red' machine. It takes about 25 minutes with Alyx."

"It's important to remember that every blood donor helps three people," Ruscik said. "So the 14 people that donated blood today helped 42 people. One of our 14 donors was Mr. Stephen Smalec. With his donation today, Mr. Smalec has become a 'One Gallon Donor.'"

The blood drives are nothing new to the Hookers.

"I've been with the Matlacha Hookers for 17 years," Ruscik said. "We've been doing these blood drives for 15 of those years and the Matlacha Hookers are grateful to the Pine Island community for their support over the years. It's all about making a positive difference in our community."



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