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Jun 11, 2020

Healthy Living: Donate Blood

Across the world, blood is a precious resource. Even in modern medicine, there is no substitute for blood. By donating blood, you can save as many as three lives. Complications in pregnant women, anemic children, victims of traumatic injuries, and people getting surgeries are just some of the populations that regularly need blood. So it’s safe to say there is always a need for a steady and safe supply. World Blood Donor Day will be celebrated this Sunday and in tonight’s Healthy Living, we look at the reasons you should consider being a blood donor and giving the gift of life.



Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on June fourteenth every year. It is a day set aside to raise awareness about the crucial need for blood donors and to thank those existing donors for their life-saving gift.


Ronald Stuart

Ronald Stuart, President, Belize Volunteer Blood Donor Association

“I would encourage persons to become donors. It’s not a very difficult process. You just have to live a healthy lifestyle. It is very rewarding. I’ve been a volunteer donor for so long; I don’t know how many people my donations have made a difference in their lives.”


Stuart is the president of the Belize Volunteer Blood Donor Association, and a voluntary donor for the past twenty-five years, which means every three months he voluntarily donates blood to the bank.  This is different from what is called replacement donors, who donate for a specific person. Ideally, blood banks should be stocked with one hundred percent voluntary blood donations. In Belize, voluntary blood donation is just ten percent.


Ronald Stuart

“On average, it’s about two hundred and fifty throughout the country, which more or less represents about ten percent of the blood collected throughout the course of the year. In a lot of instances, persons feel that if it’s not a person that they are aquatinted with, immediate relative or colleague, neighbor, or somebody that they are close to that there is not the need. But you can never tell when that situation will change.”


In the previous year, there were about three hundred voluntary donors. Stuart says that while the number of voluntary donors fluctuates, for the most part, voluntary donations hover at ten percent of the yearly contributions. Through the association, they are continually trying to recruit new voluntary donors.


Ronald Stuart

“Think of it as giving the most valuable gift for somebody’s life. Do it not only for that person but yourself who is giving it, you feel a sense of pride that you’re able to make a difference in someone’s life and those they are connected with. Because at the end of the day, you cannot substitute it, and particularly in emergency instances, you do so, and it makes a difference as to whether that person will live or not.”


On Friday, the Blood Bank is hosting an appreciation day for all donors. They’ll provide snacks, and as a sign of the times, this year’s memorabilia is a face mask. We are in a pandemic, and that means even the blood bank must adjust to the times.


Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith, Supervisor, Belize Blood Bank

“Before we use to try to accommodate as many donors in our setting, however, due to the spacing in our blood bank, we can only accommodate three donors at a time. So if you are in a hurry, you can make an appointment with us, and we will see how we can accommodate you.”


On June twentieth, the San Pedro Belize Red Cross will be hosting a Blood Drive in that municipality. But remember, you can donate at any of the district blood banks at any time of the year.


Ronald Stuart

“While world blood donor day is only one day, blood is needed three hundred and sixty-five days a year, so while we are focusing on it for that one day throughout the course of the year, we encourage persons to continue to give.”


Adrian Smith

“It is a gift of life. If you want to help somebody else, you can donate blood. Every time you donate blood, you are saving three persons at different times.”


In other words, in this challenging time, when it feels like you don’t have much to give, you still can give the gift of life.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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