At any time of the year, an accident or illness can strike a family member or friend, leaving someone you care about in need of blood. Despite the yearlong likelihood of an accident or illness, the number of new blood donors drastically declines over the summer.
Many factors play into this trend, one being that many schools and college campuses that host blood drives are out for summer vacation. Many people who donate regularly will put off giving blood to work around vacation plans, as well. The combination of factors causing this drought in donors doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you can do about it.
The American Red Cross is urging people who have never given blood before—as well as those who haven’t given recently—to make an appointment to give blood or platelets now and help sustain a sufficient community blood supply this summer.
Why give blood?
Donated blood saves lives and improves health for people in many situations that require a transfusion. Some examples the World Health Organization mentions are:
- Women with complications of pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhage before, during or after childbirth
- Children with severe anemia, often resulting from malaria or malnutrition
- People with severe trauma after man-made and natural disasters
- Many complex medical and surgical procedures
- Cancer patients
- People with chronic conditions such as sickle cell disease
Blood can make a huge difference when someone is in desperate need of it. The need for blood supply from donors is constant, because it can be stored only for a limited time before use. According to the World Health Organization, “regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed.”
To put this into perspective, the Community Blood Center says blood is needed every 2 seconds, with about one in seven people entering a hospital in need of blood.
In the case of an accident, we’d like to think there will be enough blood available when one of us or a loved one needs it. To make sure this is the case, become a donor this summer! Grab a friend and give together.
If you have never donated before, have no fear. It takes about 10 minutes, and—just like that—by giving your blood you are making a lifesaving difference for someone else. Roughly 38 percent of people are eligible to donate, but less than 10 percent of them do.
You can play a role in changing that percentage. Be a hero this summer. Donating blood can give someone a desperately needed second chance.