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New year offers chance to help save lives

Missouri-Illinois

December 26, 2013
 

Ring in 2014 by resolving to give blood to patients in need.

 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 26, 2013) — New Year’s is a time for both reflection and setting goals for the future. Many of us resolve to eat healthier, give up bad habits and become more involved in our communities. As the clock ticks down to 2014, the American Red Cross encourages people to include giving blood on their lists of New Year’s resolutions.

 

On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood a day to meet patient needs. The commitment to become a regular donor can make a lifesaving difference in the lives of others. There’s no substitute for blood, so those who donate are giving something that truly means something to a patient: a chance at life.

 

Rebecca Egender, a Kansas City, Mo. native with dreams of making it on the silver screen in Los Angeles, almost never got the chance after a car accident in 2009 nearly claimed her life. Now, the 32-year-old Egender invites others to donate blood to help save lives as a way of paying back those donors who helped save her life four years ago.

 

“I had several blood transfusions, two surgeries to install a stent in my aorta, a chest tube inserted, 13 broken bones - including 7 fractures in my pelvis - as well as liver, kidney, and spleen damage,” Egender said.

 

One of Egender’s surgeries could not begin until the hospital had enough blood on hand, and Egender said while she was waiting, a thought began to grow in her mind.

 

“It came to me: as a way of expressing gratitude to those who donated the blood that kept me alive and in an attempt to keep others from having to experience this terrifying waiting period before going into surgery, I would host an annual blood drive.”

 

Egender is doing much better now, and has since made good on her idea by sponsoring blood drives in Los Angeles and Kansas City over the last four years.

 

The hour it takes to roll up a sleeve to donate blood could help save up to three lives. The patients who often need blood include traumatic accident victims, those undergoing chemotherapy and premature babies.

 

“Giving blood could be one of the most impactful goals a person could add to their New Year’s resolution list,” said Scott Caswell, CEO of the Missouri-Illinois Blood Services Region. “Most of us can probably find an hour to give. We may never know the people we have helped, but we can know that our gift made a real difference.”

 

All blood types are needed, especially O negative, A negative, B negative and AB positive or negative. The winter months are historically a challenging time for the Red Cross to collect blood donations, due to inclement weather and seasonal illnesses. However, patients who need blood do not get a day off. They rely on donors who are willing to give year round.

 

 

How to donate blood

Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental consent in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

 

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

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