The American Red Cross is asking people to give blood as soon as possible to help build the nation’s blood supply back to a safe and adequate level.
The number of people giving blood has dropped this summer, and available blood products are being delivered to hospitals just as quickly as donations are coming in.
Eligible blood donors are asked to please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive and make an appointment.
To give blood, individuals must be 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and be in general good health to be eligible to give blood. Those wishing to donate should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when they come to donate.
Some people learn firsthand how important it is to have an adequate supply of blood on hand. Trent Waggoner is a freshman at the University of Louisville. Like many college students, he enjoys hanging out with his friends. He loves doting on his girlfriend, Nichole. He studies for his classes, makes plans for his future and works part-time at his father’s business, 3B Locksmith and Road Service.
Waggoner’s life took an unexpected turn last year, just three weeks into his freshman year of college. He responded to a roadside assistance call and was helping change a tire on the side of a busy highway, when a driver entering the highway slammed into his truck. The young man became pinned between the car he was working on and his own truck.
“The truck and the car acted like a tourniquet,” Waggoner remembers. “I was pinned so tight that it helped keep me from bleeding to death.”
As a result of the accident, doctors had to amputate the lower part of the college freshman’s left leg. He had a number of broken bones. Over the course of his treatment, he received multiple blood transfusions to help prepare him for his 11 surgeries. He spent 42 days in the hospital.
Waggoner had given blood three times before he needed blood himself. “It was good to know that the blood was there when I needed it,” he says. He credits both volunteer blood donors and his strong support system of family and friends for seeing him through the accident.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. Accident victims, as well as cancer patients, patients with sickle cell disease and other blood disorders, burn victims and many others receive lifesaving transfusions every day. There is no substitute for blood and volunteer donors are the only source.