Give blood to aid in pro­tect­ing lives

Record Observer - - Opinion -

As we begin the New Year, we join the Blood Bank of Del­marva and the Red Cross in en­cour­ag­ing in­di­vid­u­als to re­solve to roll up a sleeve to give blood this month and through­out 2017.

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. 4.5 mil­lion Amer­i­cans would die each year with­out life sav­ing blood trans­fu­sions.

At Anne Arun­del Med­i­cal Cen­ter alone, some 3,000 pa­tients a year — your loved ones, your friends, your neigh­bors and, maybe even you — re­ceive life-sav­ing blood trans­fu­sions. That’s nearly 7,300 units of blood needed each year with­out even count­ing what is need at the lo­cal emer­gency cen­ter or the nearby hos­pi­tals in Eas­ton and Ch­ester­town. Be­cause there is no sub­sti­tute for hu­man blood, these pa­tients are count­ing on car­ing peo­ple like you to do­nate this pre­cious re­source.

Na­tional Blood Donor Month has been ob­served in Jan­uary since 1970 with the goal of in­creas­ing blood and platelet do­na­tions dur­ing win­ter — 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.

“To be­come a blood donor is a New Year’s res­o­lu­tion that’s truly worth keep­ing,” Michael Waite, Blood Bank com­mu­nity re­la­tions di­rec­tor, said. “Over 20,000 pa­tients a year in our hos­pi­tals de­pend on BBD donors to pro­vide the life­sav­ing blood they need for surg­eries, trauma and can­cers, along with those who need blood trans­fu­sions to sim­ply sur­vive. That’s why we urge any­one who’s able to do­nate to strongly con­sider join­ing us. It’s the most per­sonal gift you’ll ever give.”

Blood Bank of Del­marva op­er­ates five per­ma­nent donor cen­ters through­out the Del­marva re­gion, as well as more than 30 mo­bile do­na­tion lo­ca­tions. Red Cross of­fers nu­mer­ous blood drives ev­ery month through­out the Shore. Check on­line for avail­able dates near you. Area hos­pi­tals of­fer blood do­na­tion cen­ters, open week­days.

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 ev­ery 56 days. Platelets can be given ev­ery seven days — up to 24 times a year. In­di­vid­u­als who are 17 years old (16 with parental con­sent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in gen­er­ally good health may be el­i­gi­ble to do­nate blood. High school stu­dents and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet cer­tain height and weight re­quire­ments.

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. You will be some­one’s hero. Just one do­na­tion can help save as many as three peo­ple’s lives. Make an ap­point­ment to do­nate blood today.

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