PALMDALE — Ringing in the new year, its common to hear of resolutions to eat healthier and exercise. But what about resolving to give more life? Making a difference in the life of another is as easy as scheduling a blood or platelet donation with the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross encourages people to help meet the urgent need for blood and platelets by resolving to give blood in January for National Blood Donor Month. The critical role of blood and platelet donors has been celebrated each January for nearly 50 years, which coincides with one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply for patients.
The need in the Antelope Valley is great, especially due to busy holiday schedules, extreme winter weather and seasonal illnesses which often impact donor turnout this time of year.
“Roll up a sleeve and come out to a local blood drive in the community,” American Red Cross Communications Manager Christine Welch said. “In less than an hour you can save a life.”
Donating blood or platelets is a way to make a lifesaving impact in the new year for patients such as Judy Janssen, who was diagnosed with end-stage autoimmune liver disease in 2016. Janssen received frequent blood transfusions, sometimes multiple times a week, until she underwent a liver transplant last January.
“Blood donors make a really big difference with very little effort,” said Janssen, who received dozens of transfusions before and during her transplant surgery. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for blood donations.”
The American Red Cross must collect 700 blood donations a day in Southern California, including the Antelope Valley, to maintain its nationwide goal. To encourage donations immediately, all those who come to donate by Sunday will get a long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last.
Another way to support the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross is to become a volunteer transportation specialist and deliver lifesaving blood products to local area hospitals. Volunteer transportation specialists play a very important role in ensuring an ample blood supply for patients in need by transporting blood and blood products.
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families.
For details or to make an appointment, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 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 in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.
To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to email@example.com or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.