This summer, the number of people giving blood has dropped and the American Red Cross reminds people that hospital patients need blood seven days a week, 365 days a year, no matter what season it is. Kelsey Harris is a high school student who was involved in a car accident one morning on her way to school and had injuries serious enough to require a blood transfusion in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
The young teen fully recovered and became very aware of the importance of giving blood. Before her accident, she had a fear of needles and wouldn’t go near them. During her treatment she overcame that fear and decided to start giving blood. She discovered her blood type is O-Negative, the universal blood type which can be transfused to anyone, especially in emergencies. Today her entire family gives blood whenever they are eligible.
Harris and her family are some of the approximately 4.5 million volunteer blood donors who give about 6.5 million donations through the American Red Cross blood program every year. This enables the Red Cross to distribute as many as 9.5 million blood products each year to patients in about 3,000 hospitals and transfusion centers across the country.
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. While all blood types are needed, there is a particular need for donors with O-Negative blood type because it is often used in emergency situations when doctors don’t have the time to type a patient’s blood.
Individuals who are 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 are in general good health may be eligible to give blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.
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.