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United Way to host ‘Day of Action’ blood drive
June 12, 2018

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The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties is holding a "Day of Action" and asks volunteers to "Be A Hero! Donate Blood!"

On Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the United Way, in partnership with Lee Health Blood Center, will be hosting a blood drive at the United Way Main Campus at 7273 Concourse Drive in Fort Myers.

"The United Way Day of Action is a worldwide initiative. On and around June 21, tens of thousands of people across the globe volunteer with United Way to improve their commu-nity. United Way Day of Action is an opportunity for volunteers, donors and advocates who seek to change lives and communities to be part of the solutions that make a real difference in people's lives," said Jeannine Joy, vice president of The United Way Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties.

During the same window of time, blood will also be collected at the Winn Dixie parking lot at 1016 Cape Coral Parkway, East.

According to the United Way, the number of new blood donors drops by 30 percent or more during the summer months in Florida, despite the need for blood not changing.

Every two seconds a person is in need of blood across the county - a single pint can help save the lives of many.

Joy said a few factors figure into the shortage of new donors.

"There is a large reduction of donors in the summer months. That can be attributed to the high schools closing down - as high school donors make up a huge donor base for blood centers across the country, as well as the loss of the snowbirds that donate while they are in town," Joy said.

The goal is to have 200 donors come out to these locations, which will supply them with 200 units, or pints, of blood.

Visits can be scheduled via online registration at UnitedWayLee.org/DayOfAction, and walk-ins will be accepted.

"We want donors to be able to donate as conveniently as possible so we strongly encourage appointment. We will, however, take walk-ins until 3 p.m. at both locations," Joy said.

Those who come out to donate will receive a free United Way Day of Action T-shirt, as well as free food and door prizes (all who give blood will be entered), made possible by a generous sponsorship from O'Donnell Landscapes Inc..

Students can also gain a volunteer hour credit for school.

To donate blood you must: weigh at least 115 pounds, be at least 17 years of age, or 16 with parental consent, and provide a photo ID if you are a new donor.

"There can be some medical conditions and travel that may cause deferral as well, please call Lee Health Blood Center if you have a specific question on these," added Joy.

The most common blood types are A positive and O positive, with the least common being AB negative.

Joy stated that there is still a shortage for common blood types, as these will also be the most commonly used as well as donated.

She also said blood drives are a vital resource to the community.

"There is no substitute for blood donation, no synthetic drug or alternative. The only way to meet the needs of Lee Health is by collecting blood at drives like this," she said.

Lee Health does not export donated blood, it all goes to help those at community-owned hospitals and facilities.

According to its website, 800 donors a week are needed.

If you are not able to make it out to the blood drive, the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile can come to you.

You can schedule a time by calling the Lee Heath Blood Center at 239-343-2333.

Blood centers are located at Lee Memorial, Cape Coral Hospital, Summerlin Crossings and Bonita Community Health Center.

More information about the United Way can be found at UnitedWayLee.org.

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