He's Oh So Positive About the Importance of Blood Donations
By Renee Burrell
Clearwater City Commissioner George Cretekos (o-positive) gives the gift of life through routine blood donations
According to Florida Blood Service (FBS), one blood donation can help save the lives of up to three patients and they estimate that 9 out of 10 people who live to age 70 will require a blood transfusion.
"I am a 34-gallon blood donor," stated Clearwater City Commissioner and former aid to Congressman Bill Young, George Cretekos. Cretekos gives more than just blood. He helps improve awareness for FBS at every opportunity. "I try to explain the importance of being a donor and how good it feels knowing that someone will benefit from it. And, I jokingly say that if more people would give--even if just once a year--I wouldn't have to give as frequently."
"I started giving blood while a student at Davidson College, but I didn't become a regular donor until several years later when a friend from Largo, former City Commissioner Lorraine Quinn's husband, needed blood for open heart surgery," he explained.
Inspired by Congressman Young and his wife Beverly, who are sponsors of the National Bone Marrow Registry, Cretekos became an even more devoted donor. "Congressman Young and Mrs. Young became sponsors and their involvement strengthened my resolve to give blood at every opportunity," said Cretekos.
Data indicates that sixty percent of the population nationwide is eligible to donate, but only 5 percent choose to be blood donors. Lamenting the low number of donors, Cretekos feels strongly that people living in our area should be more cognizant of the demographic need for donations in Tampa Bay. "Florida Blood Services here in Tampa Bay has a need for 750 units of blood every day. We're known for our award winning hospitals and medical healthcare here. Servicing Tampa Bay residents, plus those that seek medical treatment here from outlying areas, plus winter residents drawing from our supply, makes our need greater."
"I realize that some people are concerned about receiving blood from an anonymous donor, and while I understand those feelings, I believe that our nation's blood supply is safer than it has ever been," said Cretekos.
Anyone who rationalizes against donating and thinks that should they require a transfusion, a family member with the same blood type will roll up their sleeve, might want to rethink their position. Cretekos reminds, "Keep in mind that, especially in an emergency, a family member may not be available to donate, and in that case, it is important to have a blood supply immediately available."
Cretekos relayed that aside from the spiritual well being he feels in knowing his blood will help someone in need, there's a secondary benefit worth mentioning. "My blood is thoroughly tested before being given to a patient. This reassures me that if something is wrong with me, it may be detected and I'll be notified and see my physician for a more complete examination."
"Giving blood is doing something unique. It is a most personal contribution, and because I don't know anything about the recipient, other than it is someone who is sick or injured, I look at it as another way of being of service to my community."
There are two FBS donation centers within the Gazette's readership area. In Clearwater, the center is located at 1680 S Missouri Ave. Call 582-9500 for hours. The Largo Donor Center is 11401 Belcher Road, South. Call 584-2656 for hours. Types O-, B-, and AB- are currently in critical need.
Return to Home Page
Return to Current Edition