The Easter holiday traditionally marks the end of "season" in Southwest Florida.
And with the end of season comes a lot of things - great dinner specials at area restaurants, less traffic on the roads and, unfortunately, fewer donors at local blood banks.
While weather has kept visitors here a little longer this year, it's not too early to be thinking about summer blood supplies.
Donors have a couple of options - blood mobiles operated by the Lee Memorial Health System or other providers, or Lee Memorial facilities throughout Lee County where you can stop in on your schedule.
For those who may be out and about next week, select Publix stores will hold blood drives on Saturday.
In the Cape, OneBlood's "Big Red Buses" will be at two Publix locations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 3. Those locations are the stores at 127 Cape Coral Parkway and 2420 Santa Barbara Blvd.
Donors will receive a $10 Publix Gift Card along with a wellness check-up of blood pressure, pulse, temperature and iron count, including a cholesterol screening.
Meanwhile, the blood banks associated with the Lee Memorial Health System are always in need of additional units of all blood types.
Blood is needed for numerous medical procedures, not only for crash victims, but for surgeries and various treatments. Fewer post-season donors mean less available stock and, sometimes, communitywide appeals for certain blood types.
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:
n Lee Memorial Hospital 2776 Cleveland Ave. Fort Myers, 33901 Phone: 239-343-2333 Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, & Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Thursday 8 a.m. - 7 p.m.
n 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.
n Bonita Community Health Center 3501 Health Center Blvd., Suite 2011 Bonita Springs, 34135 Phone: 239-495-4372 Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
There also is the convenience of having the Lee Memorial Blood Mobile come to you.
The center provides everything a business or organization needs 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.
- Breeze editorial