March is Red Cross month, and the perfect time to recognize American Red Cross blood and platelet donors, blood drive coordinators and other supporters. Without the generosity of these everyday heroes, the Red Cross would be unable to fulfill its lifesaving mission and help patients in need.
THE NEED FOR BLOOD IS CONSTANT
Did you know that every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood? Most often we think of blood going to help someone who is having surgery or who has been in an accident. But did you know blood and platelets are needed for many other patients? People living with leukemia or sickle cell disease, burn victims, heart patients and others may all need lifesaving blood.
Blood is perishable and so the blood supply must constantly be replenished. Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days and platelets just five days. To keep an adequate supply available, the Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients in about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers across the U.S.
HELPING SAVE LIVES IS SIMPLE
Giving blood is easy. The entire process takes about an hour, and the actual blood donation takes about 10 minutes. You register, go through a brief health screening, answer some questions and then give blood. After that, it’s off to the refreshment area for a snack and drink. And for that hour of your time, you can help save more than one life. Your donation will be made into several different blood products such as red cells and plasma, so you may actually help more than one patient.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD
Many people say the number one reason they don’t give blood is that no one asked them. During Red Cross Month, we are asking. We urge all eligible donors to make an appointment to give now by using the Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Our free Blood Donor App lets you schedule donation appointments, track your total donations, find blood drives and much more. This exciting app is available for download on iPhone® and Android™ devices. Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass. With RapidPass, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass, follow the instructions at redcrossblood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
In most states, individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.