Volunteers needed for National Blood Donor Month

January is National Blood Donor Month, serving to recognize the lifesaving contribution blood and platelet donors make while increasing awareness of blood donations’ critical needs.

Since 1970, the American Red Cross is recognized for beginning the observance of National Blood Donor Month. Due to increased seasonal illnesses during the winter months, among other attributes, donations of blood and platelets decline and demand increases.

According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion. Daily blood donors help patients of all ages, including accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients and those battling cancer.

Although the Red Cross provides around 40% of the nation’s blood and blood components from volunteer donors, supply doesn’t always meet demands because only about 3% of age-eligible individuals donate blood yearly.

According to the American Red Cross, less than 38% of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets. Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured, they can only come from volunteer donors.

“If you have recovered from COVID-19, the plasma from your blood donation could help treat patients currently fighting the virus,” Red Cross officials stated.

Doctor Stephen Hahn of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October of 2020 announced plasma from people who fought off COVID-19 contains antibodies and those antibodies provided one way for an individual’s immune system to fight the virus when sick. As a result, the plasma may be able to help others fight off the disease.

Aside from surgeries and diseases, cancer treatments, transplants and open-heart surgery, Sickle Cell disease patients also rely on blood donors.

Sickle Cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,00 people in the U.S. and about 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year, reported the American Red Cross.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.8 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2020, with many of them needing blood, sometimes daily, during chemotherapy treatment.

Consider the following facts provided by the American Red Cross:

• Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.

• Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily.

• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately three units.

• One donation can potentially save up to three lives.

The American Red Cross and the NFL partner again this year by inviting football fans and blood donors to join their lifesaving team.

As a special thank you to donors who give between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31, 2021, they will automatically be entered to win two tickets to next year’s 2022 Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles, California.

The package includes two tickets to Super Bowl LVI, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to Super Bowl Experience, round-trip airfare to Los Angeles, three-night hotel accommodations from Feb. 4 to Feb. 7, 2022, plus a $500 gift card for expenses.

As an extra thank you, those who donate between Jan. 1 and Jan. 20, 2021, will also automatically be entered into the Big Game at Home Package.

Donors must meet the following requirements:

• must be at least 17 years old

• must weigh more than 110 pounds

• must be in good health an feeling well

• provide an ID, such as your driver’s license

• provide complete address

• answer a few questions about your health history and places you’ve travel during a private and confidential interview

• sign and go over basic eligibility form and read information about donating blood

Health emergencies don’t pause for holidays or a pandemic and donors are needed now to help patients make a comeback.

For more information on the donating process or schedule an appointment to donate blood near you, visit www.redcross.org.

Visit www.fda.gov or www.redcross.org for additional information on donating COVID-19 plasma.

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