By Marly Fausz
Looking for a new year’s resolution that is meaningful? How about saving a life right here in this community?
Donating a pint of whole blood can save up to three lives, according to the American Red Cross, because its components could essentially go to help three separate patients: red blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Since 1970, January has been recognized as National Volunteer Blood Donor Month because during the winter months with holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness, blood can be in short supply.
There are a couple of options for saving lives right here in Chester. Families who utilize hospital services at Bon Secours or HCA facilities would want to give blood with the American Red Cross (ARC). They are the largest provider of blood products in the country and serve these hospitals locally.
“If just a few more people than expected would roll up a sleeve at each American Red Cross (ARC) blood drive at this time, there would be enough blood to meet patient needs,” said American Red Cross Communications Program Manager Kristen Hatfield.
Another option is Virginia Blood Services (VBS), that is now part of a larger network called ITxM whose community includes Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The hospitals served in the area are VCU Medical Center and Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center. Howlett’s Restaurant and Tavern held a blood drive last week with Virginia Blood Services and gave free lunches for those who donated.
“We are in need of all blood types to assure that we maintain our blood supply for the hospital patients in our community,” said VBS Executive Director Julie Moore in a recent press release.
There are many benefits to donating blood in addition to helping someone in the community including learning your blood type, burning 500 calories, reducing iron levels for men and generally feeling good.
Becoming a blood donor issimple and the basic requirements are to be no younger than 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be feeling in good health. It’s a simple process that takes less than an hour of time and can be done every 56 days.
Those unable to donate blood can still help by asking others to donate or by hosting a blood drive at their place of business, worship or other organization.
Making a resolution to save lives in 2014 can make a huge impact on the community. Getting started this month will allow the opportunity to save up to 18 lives this year alone.
Upcoming blood drives include:
Elizabeth Davis Middle School (VBS)
Jan. 28, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m.
601 Bus Court Loop