No one plans to need blood. Yet 4.5 million people each year would die if not for blood donations.
I started giving blood when I was eligible, 17 years old, at least 110 lbs and in good health. I gave because I could, I knew in my heart that it was the right thing to do. I’ve been giving ever since. I had never needed blood personally but that all changed in 2008 when my husband, Jim, was diagnosed with AL Amyloidosis ( https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amyloidosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20353178 ), an insidious disease that sneaks up on you and if not diagnosed early enough will cause organ failure and you will succumb to the disease. For almost three years we were in and out of hospitals for treatments and had a need for blood products. While we didn’t not need full on blood transfusions or a lot of blood products we did see patients of every age, race, education level, and socioeconomic background whose lives depended on blood donations. It was heart breaking to see these patients have to delay treatments because of blood shortages. We were given the prognosis of 3-18 months, in the first 3 months it was touch and go almost every single day but due to our wonderful doctors and all blood donors we almost double our time together (34 months) that we wouldn’t have had if not for them.
Donated blood’s shelf life is 42 days. You can donate blood every 56 days. That leaves 2 weeks where your blood in not circulating in the blood bank. Here are some sobering facts: Every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood, Less than 38% of the US population is eligible but only 10% actually donate, one donation can save up to 3 lives, blood and platelets cannot be manufactured they can only come from volunteers, 36,000 units of blood are needed each day, O- blood is a universal donor (everyone can receive it) but only 7% of the population is O-, AB+ plasma can be transfused into any patient but only 3% of the population is AB+, All blood types are needed on a daily basis.
My blood type is O+ which is the most common type (38% of the US population) since the year 2000 I have given 5.75 gallons of blood (I’ve given more over my lifetime but to other blood services) and I plan to keep on giving as long as I’m able. If you are in the 38% of the population who is eligible to donate would you please join me? If you are part of the 62% who are not eligible would you please help me by spreading the word to friends and family? Blood donations typically decline during the holidays, but the need is still there. Won’t you please consider giving a lifesaving gift to someone in need?
To donate please go to https://www.redcrossblood.org/ and find a donation center or drive near you (many places of worship and businesses host blood drives near you, you don’t have to be a member or employee to donate, it’s open to the public!). Find a time day a time that is convenient and make the appointment. The whole process takes about an hour and afterwards you will get juice and cookies not to mention the eternal gratitude from the person who receives your donation! Won’t you please join me?