Last year, 4.5 million Americans used 15 million units of blood and blood products, like platelets and plasma. It’s a good bet no one thought they would be in need of a blood transfusion!
Each day, the call goes out from hospitals across the country for over 40,000 units of blood. It might be for a mom with childbirth complications, a premature baby, a car accident victim, cancer and transplant patients, those with burn injuries, orthopedic and cardiac surgeries, or a host of other conditions that count on a safe and plentiful blood supply in order to survive.
There is no substitute for human blood, though researchers have been trying – and failing – for decades to create an artificial blood product that fully embodies the elements of this lifesaving fluid.
Brennah Payne was 7 years old when she was involved in a horrific automobile accident. She endured multiple surgeries and received many blood products during her road to recovery. Now 11, Brennah thanks blood donors for their life-saving gifts, sharing, “You are so sweet! Now, I am back at school, swimming and doing other things thanks to you!” Brennah, like most blood recipients, never expected to be the one in need.
On any given day, less than 40 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood and less than 10 percent donate annually. This means a relatively few generous individuals are ensuring the availability of a precious resource for everyone who needs it. To donate blood, donors must be in good health on the day of donation, weigh 110+ pounds, be 17+ years old (16 with parental permission) and meet eligibility requirements. Before you donate, drink lots of fluid and eat well!
Michelle Koopman is 8 years old and just finished third grade; she is enjoying a summer of swim meets and family fun. Four years ago, Michelle received many blood transfusions and a new lease on life from a generous marrow donor. “I wouldn’t be here today if people hadn’t donated blood or joined the marrow registry,” says a beaming young girl just out of the pool from a breaststroke heat. Her mom, Suzanne, nods and smiles, agreeing with everything Michelle says and grateful for her daughter’s good health.
Summer months can be a challenging time for blood centers because regular donors are on vacation and high school/college students are on summer breaks. Yet the need for blood is never on holiday and can sometimes increase during the summer because of accidents, elective surgeries and unexpected events.
Blood centers work with other community partners to offer special recruitment promotions during times when it is more difficult to get donors into centers. For example, Baskin-Robbins works with blood centers across the United States with their Pint For A Pint program that gives blood donors a coupon for a free pint of ice cream.
Leslie Botos, with BloodSource, laughs as she says, “Donors often comment that not only can they save up to three lives, but can also enjoy delicious ice cream without guilt!”
Georgia Fuller was whisked into heart surgery at 1day old to repair a heart defect. She needed blood transfusions to survive a very rough start to life. As little as three teaspoons of blood can save a baby’s life. Now Georgia is almost 2 years old, laughs and plays, bringing joy to her family, thanks to generous blood donors.
Dannielle Smith, an account manager with BloodSource who helps set up blood drives in the North State region, shares, “As someone who was hit unexpectedly with a serious illness, I know what it’s like to rely on someone else to provide a life-saving miracle like donated blood. I talk to people on a regular basis whose lives have been touched by blood donation. It is both inspiring and touching.”
No one knows if they will need blood transfusions but readers of anewscafe.com can be sure that in their lifetime, someone they know and love will. Let’s make sure it’s available by donating blood ourselves or encouraging someone else to do it on our behalf.
Together, we do save lives.
For more information on local blood donation, please go to bloodsource.org or call Dannielle Smith, BloodSource account manager, 866-822-5663 or 530-243-0160 to set up a blood drive at your place of work, worship or community event.
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