Help save a life

Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, July 26, 2017

According to the American Red Cross, someone in the United States needs blood every two seconds. That works out to about 36,000 units of red blood cells every day.

The Red Cross works hard to ensure that blood is available whenever and wherever it’s needed. Whether for scheduled surgeries or accident victims — the victim of a car accident can use 100 units of blood during surgery — the need for blood donations is something that continues all year long, and Red Cross blood drives are the primary means of replenishing the supply.

But summer is a tough time for blood drives. With many people heading out on vacations and with schools where blood drives are sometimes held out for the season, the Red Cross’ ability to collect blood is always diminished this time of year.

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Just this month, the Red Cross issued an emergency call for donations, noting that it had collected about 61,000 fewer donations in May and June than it needs. That emergency call resulted in a 30-percent increase in donations through July, but the need is still great.

Blood cannot be manufactured, so the only way hospitals can get it is through donations. The Red Cross estimates that 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood at any given time, but less than 10 percent of people do so in a year.

Fortunately, it’s easy to give blood, and the process is safe. The entire visit takes about an hour and 15 minutes, with only 10 to 12 minutes of that time spent in actually drawing blood. Donors get the benefit of a mini-physical at the time of their visit, as Red Cross workers check the donor’s temperature, blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin to ensure it’s safe to donate.

You can help the Red Cross meet its needs this summer, starting today. Blood drives are scheduled this month and next at the following times and locations:

  • July 27; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Virginia Department of Transportation on North Main Street
  • July 28; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Kroger on University Boulevard
  • Aug. 2; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sentara Obici Hospital on Godwin Boulevard
  • Aug. 12; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; BURNfit Athletics on Northgate Commerce Parkway

Help save a life. Give blood.