Hampton competes in blood drive for Red Cross

By Jordan Crawford | 6/18/2013, 10:23 a.m.

Numerous cities in Hampton Roads are competing in the annual Mayor’s Cup Blood Drive. This event occurs four times a year and Friday was the city of Hampton’s time to shine.

Medical technicians from various clinics in Norfolk were on-site at the Hampton City Hall to administer the blood transactions.

This event kicks off the Red Cross blood service’s summer season, which typically sees fewer donations than what local patients need. According to Red Cross officials, 19 percent of their donations come from high school and college students. When these students are away for the summer and not in class, they cannot be found in large groups. Many other would-be-donors go away for vacations during the summer as well causing donation numbers to go down.

A need for blood is ever-present during all seasons. According to the Red Cross, in the United States, blood is needed every two seconds. This leaves little room for donations to dwindle, let alone cease for any prolonged amount of time.

To donate to the Mayor’s Cup event, one has to be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in perfect health on the day of donation.

Upon arrival, each donor received a mini physical exam, which involved getting a pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin level check-up. During the donation, two units of blood cells were collected. Following their donation, donors enjoyed light refreshments as they sat through a 10-15 minute recovery period. Including the beginning registration, the whole ordeal took about half an hour.

All parts of the blood get used. According to the Red Cross, the top use of donated blood in Hampton Roads is for ongoing blood therapy for patients with leukemia, sickle cell anemia, and other forms of cancer. Premature babies, burn patients, traumatic injury victims, and those going through surgery can also benefit from the donated blood products.

About 15 units of blood were collected. “This event, as well as any other blood donation event, is very important because it helps save the lives of people who otherwise, wouldn’t have a chance”, said Kristen Hatfield of the American Red Cross.

To encourage more donations, the Red Cross is also launching the “Summer of Stories” campaign to share the great impact blood and platelet donors can have on the life of a patient in need. The Red Cross hopes to gain at least two new donors at each blood drive this summer to ensure a decent blood supply.