By BILL MONNING, California State Senator
It is the beginning of a new year and it is time for us to remember how we can help our friends, neighbors, and community through the simple act of giving blood. January has been known as National Blood Donor Month since 1970 because people are busy with their post-holiday schedules, trying to get back into their work and/or school routines, and forget about making time to donate blood.
The need for blood donations is great. Every two seconds, a patient in the United States needs a blood transfusion. Nationwide, hospital patients need about 44,000 blood donations daily for cancer care, surgeries, and the treatment of serious diseases and trauma. In addition to donating blood, donations of blood platelets are also needed. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, burn victims, and bone marrow recipients. Unlike whole blood, which has a shelf life of 42 days, platelets must be transfused within five days of donation.
Those who are eligible to donate are individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and are in generally good health. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet specified height and weight requirements.
Donors are people like you … who play a vital role in modern health care by helping ensure hospitals have an adequate blood supply for patients. Nearly 11 million people give blood each year.
There are blood donation centers throughout the state that you can contact and set up an appointment for donating. Donating blood takes only an hour and a half of your time.
The simple act of donating blood can save someone’s life. Statistics tell us that more than 75 percent of all Americans who reach the age of 72 need blood in their lifetime and 97 percent have a loved one or friend who will need life-saving blood.
With the need of blood donations so large, now is the time to honor the spirit of giving with National Blood Donor Month.
Senator Bill Monning was elected in 2012 to represent the 17th Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara counties.