Okinawa blood bank in need of new donors
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — For the third time in as many years, the Pacific’s central military blood bank is going on the road to drum up donors.
This time, teams from the Camp Lester, Okinawa-based Armed Services Blood Bank Center will set up shop at Yokosuka Naval Base and Yokota Air Base. Officials say that despite the large number of donors on Okinawa, the vast area the blood bank serves requires them to find new donors.
“We are the sole provider of blood products from the Western Pacific to the Indian Ocean,” said Becky Leavitt, donor recruiter for the ASBBC.
“Our need is continuous. We supply blood products for all the ships, all of the military exercises, any ongoing military operations and each of the military hospitals in the area.”
The blood bank was established on Okinawa because of the large number of servicemembers on the island; donations are accepted two to four times a week there.
For those on mainland Japan, the opportunity to donate comes less frequently.
The first drive will be at Yokosuka’s Fleet Gym from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 17.
The next day, the team will be at Yokota’s West Chapel from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Officials say they hope to get at least 75 donors each day.
The blood will be shipped back to Okinawa for processing, then placed in the normal supply chain.
According to Leavitt, there are a number of requirements limiting who can donate blood.
Anyone who has had a tattoo in the past 12 months is out.
So is anyone who lived in Europe from 1980 to 1996 or anyone who has given blood in the past 57 days.
But Leavitt said anyone who is unsure of their ability to give blood should come to the donation center and have the experts check them out.
“We don’t want anyone to exclude themselves if it’s not necessary,” she said.
The basic requirement is that a donor be more than 17 years old and weigh more than 110 pounds.
For more information, contact the ASBBC on Camp Lester at DSN 643-7737.