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Give blood soon

The need for blood donations is constant, even when you’re not thinking about it.
Many people are unaware of just how often blood donations are needed. In the United States alone, someone needs blood every two seconds. That translates to about 36,000 units of red blood cells, 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma — about 21 million blood components each year, according to the American Red Cross.

Many folks might think blood transfusions are only for trauma victims, such as those who have suffered a gunshot wound or car accident. In fact, a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood, the Red Cross states. But there are many conditions, including sickle cell disease, cancer and others, that require frequent blood transfusions.

One blood donation can potentially save up to three lives. But only 38 percent of the population is even eligible to give blood or platelets, as there are a number of restrictions that exist for the health and well-being of the donor and the recipient.

But while about 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, only about 3 percent actually do, according to Bernadette Jay of the American Red Cross. That is compared to 45 percent of the population that has a family member that has received a blood transfusion in the past.

So if you’re one of those folks who is eligible to give blood, please consider making an appointment or walking into an upcoming blood drive this spring. It will be one of the best things you’ve ever done to help your fellow humans.

Blood drives in Suffolk through the end of the month include:

  • May 15 — Sentara Obici Hospital, 2800 Godwin Blvd., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • May 16 — St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 213 N. Main St., 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
  • May 18 — First Baptist Church, 112 Mahan St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • May 20 — Suffolk Family YMCA, 2769 Godwin Blvd, 3 to 7 p.m.
  • May 28 — Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd., 2 to 7 p.m.