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Blood drive: Hurricane Madness brings attention to donating

June 6, 2013
By MEL TOADVINE ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

A brief shower didn't hamper Hurricane Madness 2013, an event held at Lehigh Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in cooperation with One Blood Inc., a group that accepts donated blood for the hospital.

The event was held on Thursday, May 30 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in a section of the parking lot at LRMC and representatives from different departments of the hospital were stationed at tables under a white tent offering information about the hospital and passing out items that could be used by the public.

Hotdogs and cold drinks were also available to all who attended.

Article Photos

Julie Banker, the new chief of nursing executive at Lehigh Regional Medical Center, waves from atop a high bucket hoisted up in the air. She is shown waving to get attention for visitors at Hurricane Madness to donate blood.

Five "red busses" as they are called were parked at the site to allow visitors to donate blood throughout the day.

Several friends of the hospital and others had pledged to sit in the bucket of a piece of equipment in order to encourage people to donate blood. Each spent an hour or so in the bucket as a "hostage."

Tom Campo, who helped with the blood drive and who is the coordinator and director of cardio, pulmonary and rehabilitation services at the hospital, moved throughout the crowd encouraging people to give blood and to talk to them about the hospital.

Tours of Lehigh Regional Medical Center were also offered throughout the day.

Campo said the event was important because of the approaching hurricane season, which began this week. He said blood was needed at LRMC for any catastrophic event.

"Blood donated here will remain in Lehigh for the residents of this community who use the hospital facilities here," he said.

At one point near noon, Julie Banker, the hospital's new chief of nursing executive, who waved from the high bucket in the air, was spraying water on people below in an effort to get their attention and urge them to donate blood.

The so-called "hostages" who spent time in the bucket up in the air each had to gather people who promised to donate blood on Hurricane Madness 2013 Day at the special event.

By noon, some 60 people had fulfilled their pledge. The goal for the day, Campo said, was 80 people who would donate blood.

Rebecca Gibson of Alva was one of those who stopped by to donate blood

"I was driving by and noticed the hospital and One Blood was having the event so I stopped by to donate blood. This isn't the first time that I have given blood. I come back from time to time when the red bus is at the hospital and donate blood.

"It doesn't take very much time and there is no pain, no more than pricking your finger and you are comfortable with the friendly people who work on the red bus," she said.

Officials said a person can donate blood every 56 days. People taking all types of medications are eligible to give blood. Donors must be 18 years of age.

Carlos Navedo, the donor development coordinator for Florida's Blood Centers One Blood Inc., was also very visible at the event. He had spoken earlier in the week at the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce luncheon and promoted the Hurricane Madness 2013 event.

One of the "hostages" was the president and CEO of the Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce, Inke Baker. She appealed at the luncheon for donors to pledge to her that they would donate blood at the event.

All donors were given a free Hurricane Madness T-shirt and a chance to win prizes in hour drawings at the event.

Campo, who helped put on the event along with One Blood Inc. said this was the first such event and said there would likely be more such affairs to encourage people to donate blood in the future.

"With hurricane season coming up, we never know how bad it might be and if Lehigh is affected. It is assuring to know that LRMC will have the blood that will be needed if there is a need," he said.

He said that One Blood Inc. met its goals for blood donations during the day and that the hospital appreciated all of the people who came to donate blood.

"What we must remember is that blood donated here stays here," he said.

He said blood has a "shelf life" of 42 days and that is always used.

He noted that other blood collection services that come to Lehigh use blood in other hospitals in the county.



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