Blood donations through the American Red Cross are at their lowest level in 15 years and anyone who is eligible is urged to schedule a time to give blood now. People with all blood types are needed, and donors with blood types O negative, O positive, A negative or B negative are especially encouraged to give at this time.
JUST TWO MORE The Red Cross estimates that if just two more people above the number expected at a collection donated blood through the rest of the summer, there would be enough on the shelves to meet patient needs. Every two seconds a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to schedule an appointment today to donate.
BLOOD HELPS PEOPLE OF ALL AGES Thousands of blood donations are needed every day to help treat accident victims, cancer patients, people having surgery, children with blood disorders, burn patients and so many others. Every blood donation is made into as many as three different blood products. So, for about an hour of a donor’s time, they have the potential to help save up to three lives.
MEET EMMALEE MANWARREN Patients like Emmalee Manwarren rely on the generosity of blood donors. When she was just two years old, she hit her head while playing at home. Her parents noticed abnormal and severe swelling after the accident. She also developed small, bruise-like dots all over her body.
Tia, Emmalee’s mother who is also a registered nurse, took her daughter to the doctor’s office for testing. Emmalee’s platelet count was dangerously low, and their family was immediately directed to the local children’s hospital.
“We didn’t even pack any clothes and headed to the hospital which was almost four hours away,” said Josh, Emmalee’s father. “We thought it would be a relatively quick visit, but we ended up staying for three months.”
Emmalee was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, a blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells. During her treatment, she received blood and platelet transfusions on a weekly basis.
“Eventually, things started looking up and Emmalee was able to return home,” said Josh. “We put a lot of miles on our vehicle during that time, but that was just the beginning.”
Less than one year after returning home from the children’s hospital, Emmalee’s hemoglobin, platelet count and white blood cell count dropped again. This time, she would need a bone marrow transplant. Unlike many families, the Manwarrens found a perfect bone marrow match for Emmalee from a woman in Germany.
Emmalee underwent four days of intense chemotherapy and radiation to first destroy her bone marrow, and on June 16, 2011, she received a bone marrow transplant. Over the next two weeks, Emmalee received multiple blood and platelet transfusions, and her parents watched her condition improve.
Thanks to blood and platelet donors, talented medical professionals and the support of her family and friends, Emmalee now is able to live the relatively normal life of a spunky five-year-old girl.
WHO CAN GIVE Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give blood with parental permission. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
FIRST TIME DONORS If someone is giving blood for the first time, they should remember to bring their driver’s license or two other forms of ID with them, as well as a list of any medications they are taking. To learn more about giving blood, visit redcrossblood.org.