Blood drive set for May 23 at Ocean Beach Hospital

<p>Blood Drive Coordinator Marci Bunting receives assistance from Steve Curry in promoting the upcoming Red Cross Blood Drive.</p>

ILWACO — Never been a blood donor? Here are a few reasons why you might like to consider it.

According to the American Red Cross, in the United States someone needs blood every two seconds, which translate to a need of more than 44,000 blood donations every day, across the country. Since blood cannot be manufactured it can only come from the generosity of donors. A car accident victim might require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Blood also has a limited shelf life, so regular donations and drives are critical for maintaining the needed supply. Accident victims, cancer patients or mothers during birth with unexpected complications are only a few of the needs for blood transfusions. The Red Cross estimates that 5 million people per year receive blood. Many individuals wonder if they are eligible as a donor, and most often the answer is, “Yes!” If you have never given blood before, here’s what you can expect at a Red Cross blood drive.

First, staff and volunteers will sign you in and go over basic eligibility and donation information. You will read information about donating blood, and will be asked to show a donor card if you have one, driver's license, or other form(s) of identification. Next, you will answer some questions during a private, one-on-one, confidential interview about your health history and places you have traveled. We will check your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level present in a sample of blood.

The actual donation takes about eight to 10 minutes, during which you will be seated comfortably. The process is safe and sterile. Red Cross staff and volunteers will be available if you have any questions. Certain donation types, such as platelets, red cells or plasma, can take up to two hours. But the typical blood drive involves the basic, brief donation time. After donating, you should have a snack and something to drink in the refreshments area. You can leave the site after 10 to 15 minutes and continue with your normal daily activities.

The Red Cross reports that the number one reason donors say they give blood is because they “want to help others.” However, on the other hand, the two most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” and “I don’t like needles.”

Yet, if you are interested and willing to become a donor, one simple blood donation can help save the lives of up to three people. And if you take that one step further, if you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives!

Ocean Beach Hospital will be supporting American Red Cross Blood Drive efforts on May 23, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you would like to register to donate blood, call Marci Bunting at 642-6382. Thirty-five registered donors are needed, and we are more than halfway to our goal at this time.

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