Written by Ryan Martin
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 00:00
The Red Cross needs blood and is looking to the community for help.
“Approximately every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion.” said Benjamin Corey, The Program Manager for The The Red Cross’s Heart of America Region.
There is a constant need for blood, but certain times of the year that need rises as less people come to donate.
“During the summer and winter months, donations tend to decline as regular donors become busy with vacations, holidays and other activities.” said Corey.
While there is always a need for all types of blood, regardless of the time of year, currently there is a shortage of a few types in particular.
“Right now, there is an urgent need for types O negative, A negative and B negative blood.” said Corey. “Type O negative is the universal blood type and can potentially be transfused to anyone who needs blood.”
Donating any type of blood, as often as possible, remains extremely important because of the perishable nature of blood.
“Blood is a perishable product.” said Corey. “Red blood cells have a shelf life of 42 days and platelets just five days, so they must be replenished constantly.”
Because of the constant need of blood The Red Cross is constantly holding blood drives, in as many locations as possible.
“The Heart of America Blood Services Region – which consists of Illinois, eastern Iowa and parts of Missouri – holds approximately 350 blood drives a month.” said Corey.
The process of donating blood is an easy and relatively fast procedure.
“When a potential donor arrives at a blood drive, they will register, read an informational booklet, go through a health history review where they will have their blood pressure, temperature and iron checked, then, if eligible, they will go on to donate blood and enjoy refreshments after.” said Corey. “The entire donation process takes about an hour, but the actual donation takes about 10 minutes.”
An hour out of your day can go a long way. From the single pint of blood you donate, three people’s lives could be saved.
“That pint of whole blood is separated into transfusable components – red blood cells, plasma and platelets. That’s why one blood donation may help save the lives of three patients.” explains Corey.
The blood you donate in Illinois could make its way anywhere in the United States. The donated blood is sent back to The Red Cross’s headquarters, where it is first tested for diseases, before being separated into the different components, and distributed to hospitals around the country.
“As a national blood system, the Red Cross has the unique responsibility to help ensure all hospital patients throughout the United States have blood when they need it.” said Corey
There are numerous uses for the donated blood that make getting donations even more important.
“Blood products can be used for trauma victims – due to accidents and burns – heart surgery patients, organ transplant patients, and for patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or other diseases, such as sickle cell.”
If you would like to help The Red Cross by donating blood you can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to find a blood drive near you and to make an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are encouraged.
Some upcoming blood drives in Mclean County are:
August 29th, Mclean County Sheriff Department (Bloomington)
August 30th, Heartland Bank and Trust Company (Bloomington)
September 6th, Illinois State (Normal)
Some upcoming blood drives in Peoria County are:
Daily at Peoria American Red Cross (Peoria)
August 29th, WEEK TV (Peoria)
September 2nd, Bradley University (Peoria)
September 5th, Family Video (Peoria)
Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:07