The Blood Bank of Delmarva hopes for a major increase in the amount of donors during its 16th annual summer blood drive, which kicked off Monday.
Its goal is to reach 30,000 donors by Sept. 11. Last summer, the blood bank received about 22,000 donations to help patients in need at 19 hospitals throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.
“Our blood donations drop off because we don’t have our high schools and colleges holding regular blood drives over the summer — yet the need for blood increases over the summertime. So this our way of reminding folks the need for blood never takes a vacation,” said Michele Hart-Henry, executive director and COO of the Blood Bank of Delmarva.
“People are more active in the summer,” she said. “They’re doing more traveling, they’re out and about, they’re going to parties, they’re visiting friends, so sadly, accidents and traumas increase in the summer.”
Donating blood is “simple and painless,” she said, and takes about 15 minutes, while donating platelets can take up to two hours. Those donating platelets can watch a movie during the process, Hart-Henry said.
This year, those who donate during the summer blood drive will be entered to win a trip for four to Disney World.
Mary Lenhoff, owner of Bridgewater Jewelers, a family business in New Castle, has been donating blood for about 15 years. The jewelers is one of several businesses that have participated in the blood drive throughout the years.
“I have many friends who needed blood transfusions, and many family members, and a good friend came to me at one point to give blood,” Lenhoff said. “It is important to the community, and it is important to Delaware. It affected me personally, and it affects everyone in the world, but definitely in Delaware, so I hope they come down and take part.”
Steven Brockel of Wilmington has donated blood for a number of years, and participates in a donation program with Nemours Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
“It’s a great feeling, especially now with the children, it helps some little kid going through an operation and helps them pull through,” he said.
Danielle Sofia of Wilmington said she wanted to start donating blood again after a hiatus, due to a vacation in Mexico, which disqualified her for some years, and after having a baby.
“I’m O positive, so that’s a good blood type for donation,” she said, “and I’m a nurse. I work in the trauma setting, so I understand the need for available blood products for people involved in accidents or incidents where they lose blood.
“This is a great way to serve the community. For people who don’t necessarily have money or an abundance of time, it’s an easy way to give back.”