This sum­mer, give blood

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

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 red­cross­

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.

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