Thiele: Donate Blood Today and Help Save a Life

The American Red Cross is encouraging East End residents to donate blood to help rebuild blood and platelet supplies. Due to the recent winter storms and freezing temperatures, hundreds of Red Cross blood drives have been canceled. This January alone, more than 20,000 blood and platelet donations went uncollected because of inclement weather, putting blood supplies at local hospitals at risk and creating an even greater need for people in our community to donate.

Donating blood is safe and simple. The entire process takes about an hour, and the actual donation is done by a specially trained technician and usually takes less than 15 minutes. Once the donation is complete you’ll have time to relax and enjoy cookies and refreshments.

Right now, blood is being distributed to hospitals to help those in need as quickly as donations are coming in. Even before the recent extreme weather, the Red Cross and other organizations that collect blood donations were struggling to keep our blood supplies at an adequate level. That task has become even more challenging this winter.

Currently, only about 5 percent of eligible donors across the country give blood. Most people don’t donate blood because no one has ever asked them to. Anyone who is eligible to donate is strongly encouraged to do so; however, blood and platelet donors with the most in-demand blood types—O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative—are urgently needed.

Your donation can make a difference and help save a life. Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, and annually about 5 million people require blood transfusions to replace blood lost in surgeries and serious accidents, or to help those suffering from illnesses like kidney disease and cancer. Because blood can’t be manufactured or harvested, the Red Cross and people in our community depend on the generosity of the public to meet our blood supply needs.

If you are eligible, please get involved and make a donation as soon as possible. People who are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health may be eligible to donate blood. For more information about donating blood or to make an appointment to donate, please visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

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