It's National Blood Donor Month! This January also marks 50 years of service for the Blood Centers of Lee Memorial Health System.
In honor of this milestone, the blood centers ask that you become a hero and give the gift of life by donating blood. One in three people will need a transfusion in their lifetime, and you never know if that person in need will be you or someone you love.
"January was designated as National Blood Donor Month to encourage participation," Nancy Hendrick, Community Relations Coordinator for Lee Memorial Blood Centers, said in a release announcing the anniversary. "It's challenging to find donors during winter with so many people fighting illness, and the hustle and bustle of the holidays keeping everyone busy or out of town. There is no substitute for human blood, leaving transfusion patients to rely solely on donors to enable them to live and celebrate another day."
From left, Richard Houle, Volunteer; Lee Admire, PRN, Blood Center Technician with over 40 years of service at the Blood Centers; Sue Wesa, RN; and Nancy Hendrick, Community Relations Coordinator for the Blood Centers of Lee Memorial Health System.
Giving blood is safe, quick, and easy. Needles and bags used to collect blood are used only once and discarded. Before giving, donors receive a mini-physical at no cost - to check their pulse, blood pressure, temperature, hemoglobin level. The actual draw takes 5 - 10 minutes and the entire process is complete within 45 minutes. Blood type and cholesterol levels are also checked after a successful donation. All blood types are welcome.
- Must be at least 17 - or 16 with parental consent; in good health; and weigh at least 115 pounds.
20 fun facts about blood and the Blood Centers of Lee Memorial Health System
1. Approximately 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States and 4.5 million Americans would die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions.
2. 60 percent of the US population is eligible to donate but only 5 percent do on a yearly basis.
3. Every three seconds someone needs blood. If all blood donors gave 2 to 4 times a year, it would help prevent blood shortages.
4. In the days following the September 11 attacks, a half a million people donated blood.
5. About three gallons of blood supports the entire nation's blood needs for one minute.
6. 94 percent of all blood donors are registered voters.
7. A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in his/her body and the average adult has 10 pints of blood.
8. Blood makes up about 7 percent of your body's weight. Since a pint weighs a pound, you lose a pound every time you donate blood.
9. If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood.
10. John Sheppard, the Guinness Book of World Records holder, is a regular at the Blood Centers of Lee Memorial Health System. He has given 40 gallons of blood and donated 324 times.
11. Fourteen tests, 11 of which are for infectious diseases, are performed on each unit of donated blood.
12. There are four main blood types: A, B, AB and O. AB is the universal recipient and O negative is the universal donor.
13. There are about one billion red blood cells in two to three drops of blood. Red blood cells live about 120 days in the circulatory system.
14. The average donation is 1 pint. The average red blood cell transfusion is 3.4 pints.
15. Donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection.
16. People who have been in car accidents and suffered massive blood loss can need transfusions of 50 pints or more of red blood cells.
17. Patients undergoing bone marrow transplants need platelet donations from about 120 people and red blood cells from about 20 people.
18. Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets.
19. Platelets help blood to clot and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live and must be used within five days of collection.
20. Plasma, which is 90 percent water, constitutes 55 percent of blood volume. Plasma can be frozen and used for up to a year.
- Must provide photo I.D. with date of birth.
n Eat a good meal before giving and drink plenty of fluids.
Reasons you may be deferred from donating:
- If you are ill (cold/flu) or being treated for an illness; have hepatitis; or are HIV positive.
- Recent dental surgery (no infection and off antibiotics).
- Blood or plasma donation within the last 8 weeks.
- If you are on medication. Check with staff for clarification on which are acceptable.
The health system uses approximately 800 units each week to save the lives of people in this community. A single pint of blood, one donation, can help save several lives since it can be separated into different components - red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate. The platelets may go to a child with leukemia, the plasma to a patient with a clotting problem and the red blood cells to an accident victim. Your donation will help ensure an adequate supply for both children and adults who are patients within Lee Memorial Health System.
Hendrick and her team of health professionals work from mobile collection buses as well as four Lee County locations. Any company, community organization, place of worship or individual can organize blood drives and request a bus for onsite visits.
To find the nearest location, host a blood drive, or get more information, please call Lee Memorial Blood Center at 239-343-2333.