The Easter holiday traditionally marks the end of "season" in Southwest Florida.
And with the end of season comes a lot of things for those of us who live here year-round - great dinner specials at area restaurants, less traffic on the roads and, unfortunately, fewer donors at local blood banks.
While great weather has kept visitors here a little longer this year, it's not too early to be thinking about summer blood supplies.
Blood is needed for numerous medical procedures, not only for crash victims, but for surgeries and various treatments. For these reasons, Lee County's public hospital system, Lee Health, estimates that it needs 800 donors per month just to meet demand.
Post-season, that can be hard - fewer potential donors mean less available stock and, too often, communitywide appeals for certain blood types.
Donors have a couple of options - blood mobiles operated by Lee Health or other providers, and Lee Health facilities throughout Lee County where you can stop in at your convenience.
Almost anyone can donate blood and most medications do not preclude one from baring an arm.
Blood donors just have to weigh at least 115 pounds; be 17 years old or older (16 with parental consent) and have a photo ID if new to the donor process.
The procedure is fairly quick, relatively painless - and it save lives.
Just one donation can help three patients in need because it can be separated into components - red blood cells, plasma and platelets.
If you can spare a few minutes this spring or summer, we urge you to take part.
Here in the Cape, blood donations can be made at Cape Coral Hospital, 636 Del Prado Blvd., Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Other locations include:
* Lee Memorial Hospital 2776 Cleveland Ave., Fort Myers, Phone: 239-343-2333 Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Thursday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
* Summerlin Crossings 15880 Summerlin Road, Suite 113, Fort Myers, 33908 Phone: 239-437-5061 Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
* Bonita Community Health Center 3501 Health Center Blvd., Suite 2011, Bonita Springs, Phone: 239-495-4372 Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
For businesses and organizations looking to help, the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile can come to you.
The center provides everything needed to host a blood drive.
We speak from experience when we say they are both helpful and professional. To schedule the blood mobile, call 239-343-2333.
Blood collected through donations to Lee Health stays and is used throughout Lee County.
Not only can you help a variety of patients, from a child with leukemia to a person undergoing surgery to an accident victim, you can also help yourself.
According to Lee Health, donating blood also benefits the donor; You get a free "mini-physical" that checks pulse rate, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin level, blood type and cholesterol level upon successful donation," the system's web site states.
Sounds win-win to us.
- Breeze editorial