Red Stripe staff supports blood bank
“Not all heroes wear capes” is a popular phrase that rings true for 37-year-old Daine Winkle, a consistent blood donor for the last 19 years.
After going through a traumatic experience with his family as a teenager, he makes it his point of duty to contribute to the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) twice per year.
“When I was 17-years-old, my mom had complications when she was giving birth to my sister. She needed blood to do the operation but there was no blood at the Blood Bank. The whole situation made me nervous but thankfully, my mom and sister made it out alright and healthy. Since then, I made a commitment to give blood to prevent someone going through what we went through. If I can help someone then I am happy,” Winkle said.
Winkle works in yeast and chemical management, in Red Stripe’s brewing department but takes time out of his busy schedule to support the beer company’s annual blood drive.
For the last 10 years, Red Stripe has partnered with the NBTS to help recruit donors as they strive to meet the demands of the health sector. At this year’s event, the top corporate donor collected 75 units.
“Employees know that the blood they donate today can be a lifesaver tomorrow, so they will come out to support the cause,” said Veronica Benain, Red Stripe’s occupational health adviser. “Our employees come out in scores as they remain committed to make this contribution to society.”
The NBTS supplies blood to hospitals across the island for things like surgeries, treating injuries and bleeding disorders. There are also byproducts of blood such as plasma and platelets that hospitals need for various treatments.
“There are many patients with various illnesses that have to undergo surgery daily, whether scheduled or through an emergency. This is why we always have to ensure we have an adequate supply of the various types of blood. The shelf-life of blood is 35 days, so it is crucial that we constantly replenish our stock,” said Keishawna Pinnock, assistant blood donor organizer at the NBTS.
Nickette Morgan-Williams, 36 is a beneficiary of the NBTS through Red Stripe’s donations. In January of this year, the senior business analyst for the company’s supply chain gave birth to a son, however, her joy quickly turned into worry when she learnt that he had a blocked intestine and had to go into surgery immediately after he was born.
“The first surgery was not successful, so he had to do another. He got infections and experienced other complications and needed a blood transfusion. I reached out to Red Stripe and the team showed up brilliantly and supported my family by donating blood. In all, my son had seven transfusions” she said.
“Throughout the process, my greatest concern was that there was not enough blood because my son has a rare blood type. For one of the transfusions, we had to wait two days for the Blood Bank to get stock of that blood type so my son could do surgery,” explained Morgan-Williams.
The Blood Donation Process
Donors interested in giving blood may visit their nearest collection centre (visit https://nbts.gov.jm/collection-centres/ to see the locations) where they will participate in a two-step mandatory screening process to determine if they are eligible.
Some benefits of giving blood include being able to monitor personal health through the screening process, a detoxification of the body by encouraging it to generate fresh blood cells and bone marrow, stress management, and a reduced risk of heart disease, colon cancer and stroke among males.
Pinnock said, “Most donors do it for the national development of Jamaica. People feel good knowing that they are giving the ‘gift of life’ as every donation has the capacity to save three lives.”