Blood donations are crucial for saving the lives and ensuring the well-being of thousands of people in Ireland every day.
Over the next two weeks there will be mobile clinics coming up in Cooley, Blackrock and Dundalk.
The Dundalk Democrat spoke to John Healy, the area manager at Ardee Regional Office about why blood donors are vital to the Irish healthcare system.
“Donating blood is not for everyone,” said John.
“But it is something that everyone should try at least once.
“We need young people especially to donate as a number of our donors are older and we constantly need new recruits.
“We need 3,000 blood donations a week to meet hospital requirements. Blood only has a shelf life of 35 days, it cannot be frozen, it has to be fresh and constantly replenished.”
Over 1,000 Irish people receive transfusions every week in Ireland and approximately 70,000 patients will have transfusions in Irish hospitals this year.
The average attendance at the mobile blood clinics is over 100 people and half of those attending are regular donors.
“We would like to thank anyone who has donated and ask them to keep it up”, said John.
“Donations can be made four times a year and while we wouldn’t expect someone to donate four times wo would ask that donors who donate once a year donate twice a year instead and maybe bring a friend also.
“We need regular donors, as a regular donor is a safe donor.
The mobile clinics are convenient as no appointment is required and donors can just walk in whenever suits them.
After blood donations have been taken the blood is tested and processed. It is then collected each night and taken to the IBTS main offices in Dublin where it is distributed.
“Most people would be surprised to learn that most of the blood is sent to children’s hospitals as they would associate blood transfusions with trauma cases such as car accidents.”
The clinic is currently very low on stock of blood types O negative and O positive and John would encourage anyone in those blood groups to please attend one of their local clinics.
The first IBTS mobile clinic will be at the FOY Centre (Community Resource Centre) in Carlingford next Tuesday, April 30 from 5pm-8.30pm.
There will be opportunities to give blood in Dundalk the following week at the Fairways Hotel on Tuesday, May 7 from 5pm-8.30pm, the Crowne Plaza Hotel on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9 from 5pm-8.30pm and also at the Clan na nGael, GAA Centre on Sunday, May 12 from 11.30am-3pm.
Please eat at least a light snack three hours before donating and remember, a blood donation is just 470mls – less than one pint, and can save someones life. For more information please contact John Healy at 041-68 59994.