It’s World Blood Donor Day. The Theme of the day this year is “Blood Connects Us All.” Given the events of the weekend, it seems like a pretty good time to remember that. On behalf of the victims in Orlando and those in need of transfusions everywhere, we ask you to consider becoming a blood donor. Remember, #BloodConnectsUsAll and #TogetherWeAreStronger.
On June 12, a lone gunman conducted the largest mass shooting in the U.S., murdering 50 people.
On Nov 13, more than 120 people were killed after members of ISIS led a terrorist assault in Paris.
Nearly 65 percent of blood transfusions go to children under 5 years of age in low-income countries.
When a mass shooting or other disaster occurs, people often think of donating food and blankets and volunteering their time to help aid in situations, but the greatest service is donating blood. Almost 36,000 red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S., and when so many people are all put into critical care after being put in such traumatic experiences, most hospitals and care centers do not have enough blood to help heal these people. And those who are in low-income countries usually don’t have enough people who are healthy enough to donate blood in the first place. As a result, the healing process is prolonged and some individuals aren’t able to live through the ordeal.
As the U.S. tries to understand the massacre that happened in Orlando, civilians are coming together to donate blood to various centers in Florida. And this is the greatest help that anyone can do once a disaster occurs.
To put it in perspective:
One person injured in a car accident can require 100 pints of blood.
Again, this is one person. When disasters hit, whether they are mass shootings or economic circumstances, much more blood is required. The average donation only gives 3 pints of blood, so, in the case of the Orlando shooting, more than 30 people would need to donate blood to help one shooting victim. Hospitals have plenty of blankets, staff, volunteers and food. What they need is help in providing their patients with the fundamental of life itself.
Less than 10 percent of eligible people in the U.S. actually donate.
In general, blood donors must be at least 17-years-old, be in good health and have any chronic conditions under treated control, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Prior to donating blood, volunteers at donation centers also measure a donator’s temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin to make sure that the blood is not infected with viruses and that the donator is healthy enough to donate at all. There are more than 300 million people in the U.S., and, on average, only 6.8 million people donate blood every year, most of those people only donating once or twice. This is not nearly enough supply for all of those who are undergoing cancer treatment, sickle cell treatment, or who are in emergency situations.
Type O-Negative and AB-Positive cells are always in short supply, and these are the most helpful donations.
O-Negative blood is used in emergencies, as this type of blood can be given to those who have any type of blood, and only 9 percent of people in the U.S. have this type. Only 3 percent of people in the U.S. have AB-Positive blood — the universal blood type for plasma — which is critical for emergency situations. 12 percent of people in the U.S. have universal blood types, and even less people are eligible to donate blood at all. Even though all blood types are extremely helpful, those who are O-Negative or AB-Positive have a critical role in prolonging the lives of those involved in tragic events or circumstances.
When disaster strikes, it is up to the people to be the silver lining. A fear of needles is nothing compared to someone losing his or her life because of a lack of blood. Make it a habit to donate blood once or twice a year and remember that every time a donation is made, the chance of survival for any victim is improved. Life is too beautiful to not let everyone enjoy to their fullest ability. Don’t just enjoy life, save it.