Were you aware January is National Blood Donor Month? Why January you ask? Because the winter months are typically the leanest in donations due to inclement weather and seasonal illnesses.This recognition, inspired by the American Red Cross, was first begun in 1970. The need is enormous.
Here are some statistics.
- Around 5.6 million donations are collected by the Red Cross every year. There are 3.3 million people who are blood donors, creating over 8 million transfusable blood products, which are then distributed to 2,700 hospitals and transfusion centers. That's a lot of blood!
- Someone in this country needs blood every two seconds. In fact, blood transfusions save 4.5 million American's lives each year.
- 1 out of 10 people who enter a hospital needs blood.
- 43,000 pints of blood are used daily. One pint of blood can save up to three people's lives.
- Blood centers typically run short of type O and type B blood.
This donated blood is not just used to save lives. It is also used for research in bloodborne diseases. The Red Cross can take credit for being a leader in testing for deadly diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and West Nile virus.
Some surgeries and diseases that rely heavily on blood donors are cancer treatments, transplants, open heart surgery, anemia and sickle cell disease. Every year around 4.5 million Americans need blood transfusions. Some people with sickle cell disease receive up to four pints of blood every month in order to stay alive.
Approximately one-third of patients who are undergoing heart surgery require a transfusion. In 2005, this equated to almost 200,000 people. Now that we have established how important it is that we do not run out of our blood supply, would you like to get involved? Great! We knew you would say yes.
The Red Cross website will tell you where the nearest blood drive is to your home. You can also find your local Red Cross location here. Additionally, the same website will tell you how you can host your own blood drive. What a great way to support your community AND give back!
Right now, due to the harsh winter conditions in our country, there is a severe shortage of blood and platelets and they are asking for our help to donate both blood and platelets. Will you be someone who saves a life? Maybe someday that saved life will be your own thanks to a blood donation.