The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) collected more than 300 pints of blood during its fifth annual blood drive at the Mall at Marathon this past weekend and sent a majority of what it collected to the Princess Margaret Hospital’s (PMH) blood bank.
The telephone company began its blood drive at 9:00 a.m. Saturday.
But, according to mall security, there were dozens of people lined up in the mall’s parking lot from about 5:30 a.m.
By mid-afternoon, the blood drive had netted nearly 300 pints for distribution to PMH, Doctors Hospital and the Bahamas Red Cross.
By the end of the day, the company secured 346 pints of blood with hundreds flocking to donate, according to senior officials.
BTC Senior Manager of Public Relations Jerome Sawyer told the Bahama Journal that 266 pints of blood were sent to PMH while the other 80 pints have been earmarked for the blood bank at Doctors Hospital.
Every donor walked away with prizes or gifts ranging from $5 phone cards to new BlackBerry devices worth hundreds of dollars.
Professionally trained lab technicians and medical staff were on hand to pre-test all donors and handle the process, officials said.
And for the first time, donors were allowed to pre-register and show up at an appointed time.
“The blood drive had grown so much from the first time we did it and had become such a popular event that people were standing in line for hours last year,” said Marlon Johnson, BTC Vice President of Sales & Marketing.
“So this year we introduced pre-registration to make it more convenient and I think it worked really well.”
He continued, “Of all the initiatives that BTC undertakes or all the sponsorships we support, I believe this is the single most important contribution to the community because this truly can make the difference between life and death.”
BTC’s blood drive is the largest in the country.
The blood banks across the country are almost always in need of blood, according to officials, who sent out appeals for blood every day.
Last year, the company was able to secure a little over 250 pints of blood.
BTC is also planning to take the blood drive to Freeport for the first time this summer.