Basil Christie has been donating blood once every eight weeks for 54 years. There are two reasons he does it – his number one reason being giving blood saves lives and it’s the charitable thing to do; his second reason being giving blood is good for the donor. With that said, Christie encourages people to make a blood donation during today’s national blood drive.
“I started giving blood in university [since 1966], because they used to pay,” he said. “They don’t pay you here.”
As a college student, he received $25 a pint.
Ever since he returned home, Christie has donated blood voluntarily, every eight weeks.
“When I came home, my good friend [Michael Bullard] was in charge of the Blood Bank and I just kept giving because I spent a lot of time in the hospital, and I saw how easily giving blood saved lives, so that is what motivates me most strongly.”
Christie last made a blood donation on February 20, and is due to give today.
Christie, who is also chairman of the Friends of the Blood Bank organization, said the goal of today’s drive is to collect at least 100 units of blood at the donation site set up at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium (entrance lobby). Donations will be collected between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Donors are expected to eat at least 30 minutes prior to donating blood, and rest at least 10 minutes after donating blood. Blood Bank officials will also do free pre-screening tests on donors to ensure they are healthy enough to donate.
People wanting to donate blood were encouraged to pre-register to receive an appointment to make their blood donation.
Christie said the response was favorable up to yesterday afternoon, with about 60 people responding online. He encourages people who did not pre-register to make a blood donation to still come out.
“They can just show up and we will register them there. We’re not going to turn away anybody if they’re healthy,” he said.
While the appeal for blood donations are year-round for blood banks, the drive at the national stadium takes place as the country battles the global COVID-19 public health pandemic.
The Bahamas had 80 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths and 792 people in quarantine as of yesterday. Worldwide, there were 3,110,219 confirmed cases with 216,808 deaths.
Christie said the number one excuse he has heard from people as to why they don’t donate blood is that they are afraid of needles. But he said the needle is harmless, and the process painless.
“And giving blood really enhances your health. It regulates your iron, it regulates your blood pressure, it minimizes your risk of cancer and it keeps you healthier because you get fresh blood every time you give.”
The Friends of the Blood Bank chairman encourages men and women to attend in droves to make a donation, keeping in mind that easily 50 percent of women that donate blood usually can’t give because they have low iron.
“That’s our most common cry – women come, they can’t give because their iron is low. And women are usually the ones to respond to the appeal,” he said.
Christie said every donor showing up today will be pre-screened to ensure they are healthy to give. The Public Hospitals Authority says people should not attempt to give blood if they are coughing, have a fever or having difficulty breathing.
Donors are expected to have their NIB card or driver’s license.
The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) encourages people who are well to continue to donate blood if they are able, even if they are practicing social distancing because of coronavirus.