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PostHeaderIcon About One in Three Can Give Blood

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It is inspiring to know I can offer support where and when needed, even being able to provide a critically life-saving gift for up to three lives saved in a donation of a single pint of my blood.  That is why I want to give.  The reward for me is that there is virtually no cost, a short reclining pause in my day, amid a comfortable room filled with other like donors, ordinary people of a generous spirit, making a difference for someone in need.

Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion of some blood product.  This equals a requirement for 44,000 blood donations every day or 5 million donations a year.  To extend a life for a child with leukemia, someone with hemophilia or an accident victim, a voluntary donation can make a huge difference in a life or death situation.

The American Red Cross, established in 1940, serves as the agency to accept only volunteer donors who are not paid for their benevolent gifts of donating blood.  The safe, sterile and confidential procedure includes a check of vital signs, temperature, pulse, blood pressure and finger-stick hemoglobin value.  All blood is tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Syphilis and other infectious diseases before being used. 

Only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, and of those 50% are loyal, repeat donors.  The gender of donors is almost equally divided at 50/50 for men and women.
Not all donations needed after natural disasters and crisis events involve a monetary gift, but even more precious in some situations is the gift of life-saving blood, given voluntarily. 

The plus side is that healthy bone marrow in a blood donor makes a constant supply of red blood cells, plasma and platelets, thus the body replenishes the elements given during the donation procedure within a short time.  The safe interval between donations is generally 56 days and future appointments may be scheduled at the time of your donation.
The requirements for donating include:  being healthy, no sickness or fever;  age: 16-76 years old;  weight minimum:  110 pounds.  A donor must be well-hydrated with a healthy iron level, a hemoglobin of at least 12 grams and carry an appropriate ID card.

Why do I want to donate blood?  Knowing it is the right thing to do, I want to help others who might be in need.  The feeling of accomplishment is shared with other donors as we join at tables in the hospitality area after our donations to enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages before saying good-bye to the friendly and helpful Red Cross staff.

Helen Keller inspired others in remarking “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”    
Walk-ins are welcome and appointments may be made by calling:  1 800 733-2767.  Locations are listed at 1 800 RED-CROSS and at www.redcross.org-- KRB

Karen Balch is a retired nurse, avid traveler, community volunteer and freelance writer. Reach her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 January 2013 00:05)


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