Roll up your sleeve and be a hero
How can an average person be transformed into a life-saving hero in less than an hour? By giving blood.
January is National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross of the Greater Chesapeake Region is putting out the clarion call for healthy folks in Southern Maryland to give a pint if they can spare it. All types are al- ways needed, from the most common O positive (about 40 percent of the population) to the rarest AB negative (1 percent or less). Basically, if it’s red, they’ll take it.
According to the Red Cross, approximately 41,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States. Every two seconds someone needs blood. One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood. And 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life-saving blood transfusions.
Because there still is no substitute for human blood, these patients are counting on caring people like you to donate this precious resource.
Why the push in January for blood and blood elements like platelets? The Red Cross finds that winter is one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs. Inclement winter weather often results in canceled blood drives, and seasonal illnesses like the flu may cause some donors to become temporarily unable to donate. Healthy donors who have made a commitment to donate during the winter months are urged to keep their appointments. Each appointment kept, and each donation given, offers hope to a patient in need.
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 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
Ready to roll up your sleeve yet? According to the regional Red Cross’ website, the Indian Head Moose Lodge, 11 Town St. in Indian Head, will host a blood drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12. Many churches and other public organizations host blood drives throughout the year, and are always listed in our Community Calendar when submitted to us. Other blood drives are run regularly throughout the region. Check out www.redcrossblood.org to learn more about any of these or to register in advance.
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. You will be someone’s hero. Just one donation can help save as many as three people’s lives.
So make an appointment to give blood. Start a new, healthy habit.