Every day, over 41,000 blood donations are needed throughout the United States. In a year, about 15.7 million donations are collected in the country. While this is a phenomenal amount, it is not enough to fulfill the demand for blood donations. The issue is even larger in third world countries, which don’t have access to as much blood, but need it perhaps even more. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rate of blood donations in high-income countries is about nine times higher than in low-in come countries; 36.8 per 1,000 versus 3.9 per 1,000 people.
This dearth of supply is a huge issue that harms people around the globe. However, it is one that does not require a huge change in the way we live. According to the Red Cross, about 38% of the United States population are eligible to donate. The other part of the population is ineligible to donate for any number of reasons Yet, less than 10% of the U.S. population actually donates.
According to Stefani F. Arcangelo, the External Communications Manager, for the Red-Cross, New York-Penn Blood Services Region, blood donations often drop during the summer. This is because schools and colleges, which bring in approximately 20% of all blood donations to the Red Cross, are out of session.
“On average,” she said, “during the months of June, July, and August, about two fewer donor’s schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what people need.” While this may not sound like a lot, this can total up to over 100,000 fewer donations given during this time period.
Due to the importance of blood donation, the World Health Organization established World Blood Donor Day. This unofficial holiday, takes place every year on June 14th. Every year, the holiday focuses on a different group of people who benefit from blood donation.
This year’s theme is “Thank you for saving my life.” According to the WHO website, this year’s campaign aims to highlight stories from people whose lives have been saved through blood donation.
Rashgene Gazi-White, who works with the New York Blood Center said on a typical day the mobile van collects around 30 pints of blood, and each pint can save up to five lives.“I want to help save lives,” he said. He believes that if more people told their stories about donating their blood or having their own lives saved from blood donation, people might be willing to donate more.
The Red Cross will be partnering with Nexcare Bandages and supermodel Niki Taylor, for the Nexcare 7th annual Give Program. Nexcare will also be releasing a set of limited edition bandages, to help raise awareness about blood donation. Arcangelo, on behalf of the Red Cross also said, “The American Red Cross is proud to celebrate World Blood Donor Day in partnership with Nexcare Bandages. We would like to thank all of our generous blood donors who roll up their sleeves each day to help save lives.”
If you are looking to make a difference in somebody’s life, looking to do a good deed or want to participate in World Blood Donor Day, you can find a blood drive going on in your area through the Red Cross website. If you live in the New York area, find the closest drive around you and donate some blood today. For more information click here
Samantha G Cooper