Red Cross Officials Encourage People to Take a Break, Help Save a Life
With unseasonably warm weather upon us and Spring Break around the corner, the American Red Cross reminds everyone that the need for blood doesn’t take a break and encourages all eligible donors to make blood donation a part of their vacation plans.
“Collecting blood from volunteer donors isn’t something that can be put on hold or caught up on later since the need for blood is constant,” said Sharon Jaksa, CEO for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.
Every day of every week, people need blood for emergency and ongoing medical care. The Great Lakes Region needs to collect about 700 units of blood every day to meet patient needs. About 44,000 blood donations are needed each day across the country by hospital patients undergoing treatment for serious diseases like cancer and sickle cell and for trauma and burn care.
The challenge is that while blood needs are constant, blood donors sometimes take a break. Blood donors who would otherwise give may wait until later to make an appointment. Popular donation sites like schools, colleges and universities also typically avoid scheduling blood drives during spring break times, which can further erode blood donation opportunities.
Mary Koreen from Jackson has seen the benefits of blood donation firsthand. Mary’s mother received transfusions after chemotherapy treatments, her father after heart surgery and her husband after numerous surgeries. It was in 2010 that Mary found herself in need of blood products.
Two weeks before Christmas of that year, Mary began having difficulty breathing. Fearing she may have pneumonia, her husband and daughter brought her to the emergency room. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After surgery, her blood levels were too low to send her home and doctors recommended a blood transfusion. Though she missed Christmas at home, she is thankful that because of volunteer blood donors, she has many more Christmases to spend with her family.
“You always wonder who the gracious donor was,” Mary says. “I was very aware of what a precious gift this was, not something manufactured in a factory or pharmaceutical plant. My family is very grateful for the gift of blood and hope people continue to give as often as possible.”