Be a sum­mer­time hero. Give blood

Cecil Whig - - OPINION -

With schools out for the sum­mer, and many fam­i­lies mak­ing plans for va­ca­tions and plenty of out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, who’s think­ing about giv­ing blood?

The Blood Bank of Del­marva and the Amer­i­can Red Cross, as al­ways, are in need of donors.

Both or­ga­ni­za­tions are putting out the clar­ion call once again for healthy folks in Cecil County to help mark the oc­ca­sion by giv­ing up a pint, or some platelets, some­time this sum­mer.

Ac­cord­ing to the Blood Bank, the sum­mer months can be an es­pe­cially dif­fi­cult time to keep a suf­fi­cient sup­ply of blood on hand for trans­fu­sions. Peo­ple get busy with sum­mer leisure ac­tiv­i­ties, and travel plans may re­duce their avail­abil­ity to give.

“Ap­prox­i­mately 12 to 13 per­cent of our to­tal blood vol­ume for the year comes from high school and col­lege drives,” a Blood Bank spokesman re­cently told the Whig. “With schools be­ing out of ses­sion for the sum­mer, we are chal­lenged to re­place those donors which is one of the rea­sons we con­duct our Sum­mer Blood Chal­lenge. We need to re­place those stu­dent donors dur­ing the sum­mer months.”

Nearly 79,000 blood do­na­tions are needed each year for pa­tients across the Del­marva Penin­sula, which are served by the local blood bank. That’s a lot of blood, and that’s why they’re al­ways keep­ing their nee­dles sharp.

All types of blood are al­ways needed, from the most com­mon O pos­i­tive (about 40 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion) to the rarest AB neg­a­tive (1 per­cent or less). If it’s red, they’ll take it.

Blood do­na­tions are sep­a­rated into three com­po­nents: red blood cells, platelets and plasma. Red blood cells are pri­mar­ily used for trauma vic­tims. Platelets are used for cancer and leukemia pa­tients. Plasma is mainly used for burn vic­tims.

Blood can be safely do­nated by a healthy per­son ev­ery 56 days. Platelets can be given ev­ery seven days — up to 24 times a year. Those who are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in gen­er­ally good health may be el­i­gi­ble to do­nate blood.

Red blood cells, used for trau­mas, have a 42-day shelf life. Platelets, the clot­ting el­e­ment in the blood that is used for cancer and leukemia pa­tients, have a shelf life of five days. Plasma, which is mainly used for burn vic­tims, has a shelf life of one year.

When you show up, you’ll un­dergo a mini-phys­i­cal where your tem­per­a­ture, pulse, blood pres­sure and he­mo­glo­bin level will be checked. The ac­tual do­na­tion process takes about 10 min­utes in a safe, ster­ile en­vi­ron­ment where you’ll be com­fort­ably seated.

Blood donors can go to one of five per­ma­nent cen­ters lo­cated in Newark, Del.; Wilm­ing­ton, Del.; Dover, Del.; Sal­is­bury and Chadds Ford, Pa. But for those who just want to pop in for a quick do­na­tion, there are sev­eral up­com­ing local op­por­tu­ni­ties:

• Aug. 10, from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at Great New Be­gin­nings, lo­cated at 14 St. An­drews Road in Bear, Del.

• Aug. 16, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mid­dle­town, Del., Town Hall, lo­cated at 19 W. Green St.

• Aug. 23, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Good Shep­ard Church, 810 Aiken Ave. in Per­ryville.

• Aug. 25, from 1 to 6 p.m., at Singerly Fire Hall, 300 Newark Ave. in Elk­ton.

• Sept. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cross­fit Eq­uity, lo­cated at 505 Blue Ball Road, Build­ing 140 B, in Elk­ton.

• Oct. 18, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Good Shep­ard Church, 810 Aiken Ave. in Per­ryville.

• Oct. 25, from 1 to 6 p.m., at Singerly Fire Hall, 300 Newark Ave. in Elk­ton.

Do­nat­ing blood has many ben­e­fits. It feels great to do­nate. You get free juice and cook­ies. It’s some­thing you can spare — a hu­man body has 10 to 12 pints of blood and a do­na­tion only takes one. You will help en­sure blood is on the shelf when needed — maybe by you or by some­one you care about. Just one do­na­tion can help save the lives of as many as three peo­ple.

Think about be­com­ing a life­saver today.

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