(Jan. 17, 2020) The 22nd annual Blood Bank of Delmarva Blood Drive will run for two days this year, Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street.
Since its inception in 1999, the Blood Bank of Delmarva has collected blood from about 10,00 donors during the Ocean City event. Last year, just under 600 people registered to donate blood.
“Ocean City is [crucial] in terms of our mobile operations because we don’t actually have a donor center there and that’s one of the biggest reasons this has become the biggest blood drive for us,” Blood Bank of Delmarva Communications Specialist Tony Prado said. “It makes it convenient for folks in Ocean City and surrounding areas like Berlin and other places to donate there.”
Each year, organizers set a donor goal. This year’s goal is more than 600.
“It’s become this great annual tradition where a lot of people come out and donate,” Prado said.
Donating blood only takes about 5-10 minutes, but the entire appointment runs around one hour and 15 minutes. The donation appointment includes a mini-physical (blood pressure, temperature and pulse), medical history review, giving blood and post-donation refreshments.
The first 150 people to register will receive a gift. Every person who registers will be entered into a drawing to win a 42-inch TV.
Some local businesses will be providing free refreshments for donors to enjoy after giving blood. They including pizza from the Dough Roller, fresh fruit from Walmart, cookies from the Worcester County Girl Scouts and sweet treats from Candy Kitchen and Wockenfuss.
People with all blood types are urged to schedule an appointment in order to ensure an adequate supply of blood for all patients during the winter months. Every blood donation saves three lives.
“We have 19 hospitals in [the] Delmarva [area] … those hospitals need blood every day, whether they’ve got cancer patients, emergency and trauma patients who might need blood … people undergoing scheduled surgeries who might need red blood cells and or platelets … the list goes on,” Prado said. “It amounts to constantly making sure that we have blood on the shelves in hospitals, because hospitals want to have blood on the shelf before they actually use it.
“They want to just be able to pull it off the shelf and take care of you right away in an emergency,” he continued. “It’s our job to make sure that they’re in that position. We give them the tools they need to take care of people.”
Anyone who is ages of 17 or older, weighs at least 110 pounds, is in general good health and meets the minimum eligibility requirements may give blood as often as every 56 days. All donors must provide a photo ID or two other forms of identification, including date of birth.
Besides donating whole blood, there are alternative options available as well.
“Most people give whole blood, which is one pint,” Prado said. “But a lot of people [also] give double red cells, which is also a pint. But the difference is, we’re taking twice as many red blood cells safely, but returning your plasma and giving you some saline solution to make up for the loss of red blood cells. And that’s a safe procedure, where instead of donating every 56 days like whole blood, you donate every 112 days.”
Organizers ask people who have active cold or flu-like symptoms such as fever or sore throat on donation day to choose another time to donate. Those on antibiotics for infection must wait 24 hours after they are finished to give blood.
“I can’t understate how important Ocean City’s annual blood drive is because it happens right in the dead of winter when it can be challenging to get people to donate in the first place,” Prado said.
In Maryland, donors who got a tattoo or body piercing must wait 12 months to donate. However, if you donate in Delaware, the waiting period is two weeks (roughly the time it takes to heal).
Those who have traveled to certain parts of the world may be deferred due to a potential risk of contracting an infection that may be transmitted through blood transfusion.
A few tips for giving blood are to stay hydrated and drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day leading up to the blood donation, avoid highly caffeinated energy drinks and get a good night’s sleep. Eat a substantial meal within three hours before giving blood and afterward avoid participating in strenuous physical labor or athletic activities for 24 hours.
The blood drive will be held inside the Dockside Hall, and walk-in donors are welcome, but appointments are appreciated.
“We always try to tell people to make appointments whenever possible,” Prado said. “But having said that, we’re in the business of collecting blood … we never turn away walk-ins.”
To schedule an appointment, visit www.delmarvablood.org, call 1-888-825-6638 or use the Blood Bank’s free mobile app.
Blood Bank of Delmarva is a nonprofit, community service program that provides blood for hospitals in the region. The organization provides the majority supply of blood for 19 area hospitals and a few secondary ones. More than 350 blood donors are needed every day to meet the needs of patients at these hospitals.