Island Blood Drive sets another record
SUN PHOTO/TOM VAUGHT
Jennifer Calhoun, of Holmes Beach, came with her husband,
Floyd, to the Island Blood Drive. Its was the first time
either of them ever donated blood.
HOLMES BEACH – It was sweltering outside over the weekend and that made it much easier to head over to the Island Blood Drive inside the air-conditioned St. Bernard Catholic Church Activity Center. In fact, a record 392 donors enjoyed the cool air inside. Last year, the record was set at 368.
"This is wonderful," said Florida Blood Services organizer Wanda Read-Burke. "I want to thank St. Bernard Church for the use of their activity center, people who helped keep things running and the people who came out to donate their blood and save lives."
Many donors agreed to spend a little extra time and give blood through the Alyx system, which separates red cells from the blood and returns what it doesn’t need. Using the Alyx system, it makes it easier for blood banks and certain types of people have a great deal of need for it.
This year, I decided to go through the Alyx system and the down side was it took maybe 10 minutes longer. The upside is that they did not take as much blood from my system meaning I wasn’t as tired when it was over. Another upside is that an unidentified benefactor awards $100 for each pint of blood to one or a combination of up to five listed non-profit organizations, but when you use the Alyx system, that donation doubles to $200.
There were some first time donors there as well. Jennifer and Floyd Calhoun, of Holmes Beach, had never given blood before.
“We’re fans of the Community Center and we wanted to donate for them,” Jennifer Calhoun said. “Having them donate that money to charity motivated us.”
She said the needle in her arm was nothing compared to what that money will mean to the Community Center.
Floyd Calhoun went through the Alyx system his first time.
“I’m 42 years old, and this is my first time donating,” he said. “It is worth it for the Community Center, which is a great part of our lives."
The five agencies were there in force. They are the Anna Maria Island Community Center, the Anna Maria Island Privateers, the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island, Wildlife, Inc. Rehabilitation and Education and the West Manatee Fire Auxiliary.
Sponsors of the event include Florida Blood Services, Domino’s Pizza, the BeachHouse restaurant, Tropicana, The Bradenton Herald and the Anna Maria Island Sun.