This summer, give blood
Schools let out for the summer next week, and many families are making plans for vacations and plenty of outdoor activities.
So who’s thinking about giving blood? The American Red Cross, as always.
World Blood Donor Day is next Tuesday, June 14, and the American Red Cross of the Greater Chesapeake Region is putting out the clarion call once again for healthy folks in Southern Maryland to help mark the occasion by giving up a pint, or some platelets, sometime this month if not Tuesday specifically.
And there are opportunities in Charles County for blood donation over the next couple of weeks. La Plata United Methodist Church on Port Tobacco Road will host a Red Cross drive Thursday, June 27, from 1:30 to 7 p.m. If La Plata is too far, donors can go to the Waldorf Jaycees on the same day to donate. More information on these and other drives later in the summer can be found at redcrossblood.org.
According to the Red Cross, 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. But the need for blood remains constant and critical. And that’s precisely the point of World Blood Donor Day.
Every two seconds in the United States, someone needs a lifesaving transfusion. The Red Cross must collect approximately 14,000 blood donations every day to meet the needs of patients at 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide. 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 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.
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.
Donating blood has many benefits. It feels great to donate. You get free juice and cookies. It’s something you can spare. 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.
For more information and to make an appointment to donate, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor app, visit the website noted above or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Help celebrate World Blood Donor Day just by rolling up your sleeve, and be somebody’s hero.