There is a perfect holiday gift that is extremely valuable – yet it doesn’t cost a thing. The gift of life. The American Red Cross encourages those who are looking for a new or different way to give back this holiday season to donate blood or platelets.
Blood and platelet donations decline from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day as people become busy with holiday-related activities and travel, but patients don’t get a holiday from needing blood. Generous blood and platelet donations help ensure lifesaving blood products reach those who need them including accident victims, heart surgery patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease.
MINUTES COUNT WHEN LIFESAVING BLOOD IS NEEDED
Lisa Jaeger, of Cannon Falls, Minnesota, almost didn’t live to celebrate this holiday season with her husband Brent and infant son Ryan. She experienced a massive hemorrhage after giving birth to Ryan and lost more than half the blood in her body.
“I could hear everything that was going on around me, but wasn’t responding much outwardly,” said Lisa. “I could hear the doctors and nurses talking, orders being made – it was surreal. I was scared, and very concerned about my husband and newborn son.”
Without enough blood on hand at the hospital with Lisa’s unexpected and severe hemorrhaging, the call went out to the Minnesota State Patrol to make an emergency blood run. State troopers rushed to deliver additional blood products from the Red Cross facility more than 45 miles away. Doctors say Lisa likely would not have survived had the troopers arrived minutes later than they did.
“I’d never really truly understood the importance of blood donation until this experience,” said Lisa. “I’d never thought about the process before. Now I know, now I understand, and now I can truly appreciate the importance and need for donors.”
Lisa’s husband Brent, who donates blood, says many family members and friends became donors after his wife’s traumatic experience.
“You never realize the importance of blood donation until you need it, and you just hope that when you do need it, it’ll be there,” said Brent. “You think you’ll never need it, or don’t think about it at all … but it can happen … and without donors, I hate to think how different life could have been for my family.”
Blood and platelet donors of all types are needed to give this December and through the new year to help ensure a sufficient supply for hospital patients like Lisa. Each donation may play a lifesaving role for a family.
To encourage donations over the holidays, those who come to donate between December 21 and January 7 will receive a long-sleeve Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO DONATE BLOOD OR PLATELETS
For more information or to schedule an appointment to donate, simply download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (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.
Donors can use RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, from a mobile device or computer. Visit redcrossblood.org/RapidPass to get started.