DVIDS – News – Army-Navy blood donor challenge: an act of love, of benevolence

By Alpha Kamara, WRNMMC Command Communications

WRNMMC, Bethesda, MD – The culture of donating blood at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is an ongoing process that saves lives. This tradition of donation is showcased at the annual WRNMMC Army-Navy Blood Donor Challenge which begins November 1 and ends the Friday before the annual Army-Navy football game.

As in previous years, this year’s blood donor challenge featured a service rivalry between the Army and Navy, with the Navy winning in a close competition for the second year in a row. The winner of the challenge is determined by donors voting for the service of their choice. In this year’s competition, the Navy received 75 votes, beating the Army, which received 64 votes. The leadership of the Navy Medical Readiness and Training Command – Bethesda received the challenge trophy after the command colors on Dec. 16.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Army and Blood Donation

A key aspect of health care delivery is the availability of blood products for transfusion. WRNMMC is the largest user of platelets and the second largest user of blood and blood products in military medicine, making the need for a reliable inventory of blood products crucial for the delivery of care in the medical treatment center. military (MTF) flagship of the country.

According to Lieutenant (Navy) Kenneth Frati, director of the Armed Services Blood Bank Center – National Capital Region, the holiday season is the time when blood donation is at its lowest level in the calendar year. This year in particular, blood donations across the country have declined dramatically, leading to a critical drop in stocks of blood products in the military and the country, he said. As a result, the Blood Donor Challenge is held annually to provide blood inventory to support ongoing U.S. operations around the world and MTFs in the National Capital Region, including the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“We send 150 units of blood products every week to three combat commands in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. We also supply blood products to three Military Medical Treatment Centers in the National Capital Region: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Malcolm Grow Medical Clinics and Surgery Center in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, and the Community Hospital. of Fort Belvoir in Virginia, ”said Frati.

WRNMMC in particular is one of the primary beneficiaries of blood collected at the Annual Blood Donor Challenge due to its heavy use of platelets.

“100% of the platelets we collect go directly to WRNMMC because it is the largest user of platelets in the Department of Defense. This challenge helps us collect more blood to supply the hospital and capitalize on the already existing Army-Navy service rivalry for the benefit of the military community, ”Frati added.

Benefits of donating blood

For Frati, giving blood to the military has many advantages, especially during this festive period. He said that for servicemen, donating blood has a direct impact on the life of another serviceman involved in DoD operations at home or abroad.

“Combat operations are first planned based on the amount of blood available. If there is no blood, there will be no mission. You never know when you or your loved ones will need blood, but your blood donation will likely save someone in the darkest hour of their life. Every donation is a humanitarian act to another member of the service or a DoD recipient, and that is really what makes donating blood to WRNMMC so special, ”he said.

Frati praised the Army and Navy for their spirit of service and lifesaving acts, as their selfless service in donating much needed blood that maintains inventory to the DoD’s combat support mission and regional MTFs is invaluable.

Receiving the trophy, the commanding officer of Naval Medicine Readiness and Training Command – Bethesda, Captain (Navy) Steve Aboona expressed his gratitude to the Soldiers and Sailors who help save lives in the blood bank. He said the competition was friendly and fierce with one goal: to save lives.

“We are all colleagues with the same goal. Sometimes we try to outdo ourselves for the sake of trying to win. For me, we are all winners because the goal remains the same: to save lives, ”he said.

Aboona added that the challenge of donating blood had a positive impact on him. He has vowed to become an advocate for blood donation inside and outside Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

“Donating blood is saving our lives and the lives of the people we love. We don’t know when they will need it, ”Aboona added.

How to donate blood?

Experts say donating blood for the first time can be scary. Therefore, people must first know the correct information about their health and well-being before they donate blood.

Frati said it is so important for anyone who can donate blood to do so because it is an integral part of the delivery of health care. He said those who wish to donate go through a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulated donor screening process to determine their eligibility to donate blood. “Potential donors will be screened for risk factors, such as health and vital signs to ensure the safety of the donor and recipient of the blood,” he added.

Once screening is complete, the blood is collected, manufactured, and labeled for shipment to an MTF or downstream for ongoing DoD operations. This is why, he concluded, giving blood is a humanitarian act of love and kindness. Frati encouraged anyone interested in donating blood to visit https://militarydonor.com and use the sponsor code: WRNMMC to find a donation appointment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, or to call ( 301) 295-2104 for any questions.

Date taken: 21.12.2021
Date posted: 12.22.2021 10:51
Story ID: 411692
Site: BETHESDA, MD, United States

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