As the holidays end, the season for giving and sharing continues. One of the most important gifts is the act of giving blood. Blood and clotting cells cannot be manufactured in a lab or factory. Every 2 seconds someone needs blood – for surgeries, treatment of injuries, cancer treatment, and more. One donation can save up to 3 lives.
Since 1970, January has been named Blood Donation Awareness Month. The American Red Cross and America’s Blood Centers raise awareness and celebrate the individuals who take time to donate blood all year round. During the winter, blood donation drops off – but the need is always there. By donating blood, you are giving a valuable gift. Here are some interesting facts about blood donation:
- Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets, and 10,000 units of plasma are needed every day in the U.S. All of these things come from donated blood!
- The average red blood cell transfusion (the process where an individual receives donated blood) is approximately 3 units.
- A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.
- Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused to people in need each year in the U.S.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
- Sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. and about 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.
- According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.8 million people are expected to have been diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatments.
- If you’ve fully recovered from a verified COVID-19 diagnosis, “convalescent plasma donation” may help up to 4 coronavirus patients in need!
Please consider donating blood. The Red Cross has measures in place to help ensure safety during this pandemic. Check with your local centers for instructions on how to do this safely. Find a local donation site at https://www.redcrossblood.org/ or https://americasblood.org/.