Two Suncoasts are better than one

Student volunteers welcome community members to donate blood and check out the Fab Lab.

SARASOTA – A few months ago, the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab rapidly shifted its procedures to being designing, prototyping and fabricating face masks and shields to help fill the growing need for personal protective equipment among healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the support of more than 250 volunteers, the SSC COVID-19 Face Mask & Shield Project provided more than 4,000 masks and shields for healthcare workers and first responders who have continued to work diligently to defend the health and safety of the community.

As a not-for-profit community organization seeking to continue its support of citizens during this time of need, SSC has partnered with SunCoast Blood Centers to host a blood drive and address urgent blood and platelet deficiencies.

Local hospitals are relying on convalescent plasma as a first line of treatment for COVID-19 patients but there is a shortage of reserves to meet current patient needs.

New blood and plasma donations are critically needed at this time. All successful blood donations made at the drive will be tested for COVID-19 antibodies at no charge.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic SCBC has relied on the generosity and support of our community, said Jayne Giroux, director of community development for SCBC. “Many of our blood drives are cancelled due to the virus, so we are especially grateful to the Suncoast Science Center for hosting the upcoming drive. While we endeavor to provide the products needed for critically ill COVID patients, we must still provide blood products for those who are suffering traumas (and) going through cancer treatment, as well as having major surgery.”

The blood drive will be from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 29, at 4452 South Beneva Rd., in Sarasota.

Volunteer-led tours of the Suncoast Science Center/Faulhaber Fab Lab will be available for blood donors and visitors. In addition to the COVID-19 antibody test, all blood donors will receive special mementos designed by SSC students using the lab’s state-of-the-art equipment.

To reserve an appointment to donate blood, call 866-97-BLOOD or visit https://donor.scbb.org/donor/schedules/drive_schedule/27193.

For more information, call 941-840-4394 or send an email message to donna.estes@suncoastscience.org.

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