The Cayman Islands Blood Bank is encouraging members of the community who are eligible to donate blood to register as it aims to meet this years goal of at least 500 new donors by the end of 2017.The Blood Bank hosted its first major blood drive of 2017 at the Taste of Cayman Food Festival, which saw over 30 attendees register to be donors on Saturday evening, 28 January.This opportunity to reach out to hundreds of potential donors and raise awareness of the importance of blood donation in our community at the annual food and drink festival was made possible by Rotaract and Rotary Central, sponsors of the Cayman Islands Blood Bank.Speaking of the event Judith Clarke, Laboratory Manager at the Health Services Authority (HSA) stated that the event went very well.Thirty potential donors registered that evening and several more took our website address to sign up online. We are very proud of them for choosing to help save lives. We were able to reach a great number of people and educate them on the reasons they may or may not be able to donate blood at this time, said Ms Clarke.William Inniss, District Alumni Chair, Rotary District 7020 said, For years, eligible members of our Rotary Club have donated and continue to donate blood regularly to the Cayman Island Blood Bank. Each club is different, and have their own traditions, but I found it interesting that at one point in our history, one of our policies was to "Donate a unit of blood at the hospitals Blood Bank, or provide a good excuse for not doing so". These days, this is not required, however it still appears as an optional, encouraged practice. Rotary also strongly supports the projects of our Rotaract clubs. One of these projects lately has been a district-wide initiative to encourage and promote blood donation in each club's island.According to the World Health Organisation transfusions of blood and blood products helps save millions of lives every year, including during emergencies such as conflicts, natural disasters and childbirth. It can help patients suffering from life-threatening conditions live longer and with higher quality of life and supports complex medical and surgical procedures.The importance of donating cannot be understated. Each donation potentially saves three lives - but aside from helping others, there are many benefits to the donor as well. For example, it preserves your cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes, reduces the risk of cancer and provides free mini physical, said Mr Inniss.We were very pleased to have the opportunity to support the blood bank in a different way this year - other than rolling up our sleeves. We are always open to ideas that promote Rotary's six areas of focus in our community: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development.To learn more about the Cayman Islands Blood Bank and how to become a donor, a sponsor or a volunteer please visit www.bloodbank.ky.