Courtesy by: http://www2.hickoryrecord.com/content/2008/dec/27/give-gift-life/news/
HICKORY – Newton resident Rose Shoestock went to Wal-Mart Saturday morning, but she didn’t go to shop.
While shoppers streamed past the Red Cross bus eager to return unwanted gifts or take advantage of the post-Christmas sales, Shoestock was inside, sitting back with her feet up doing what she does every eight weeks — giving blood.
“I come out every 56 days on the dot,” Shoestock said explaining that she considers donating blood her civic duty. Her father and brother were in the military and their devotion to duty has inspired her to do her part and give back to the community.
Benita Singleton, a nurse with the Red Cross, is grateful for regular donors like Shoestock, especially around the holidays, because blood supplies tend to run low during the Christmas season.
More people are traveling, busy or sick during this season, and, although the Red Cross would love to have as many donations as possible, people battling the flu, colds or even a sniffle are discouraged from donating, Singleton said.
In her eight years with the Red Cross, Singleton has seen a lot of first-time donors who were nervous about donating blood because they worried they might get woozy or pass out. They discovered, after donating for the first time, that it’s really not such a big deal after all.
Singleton said the bus was in front of Wal-Mart for four 1/2 hours Saturday, and her goal for the day was to get 30 donations. She nearly made it. Twenty-eight people came out to donate Saturday. That’s enough donations to save 84 lives.
“One donation can save at least three people,” she said, and that’s the whole reason the Red Cross holds blood drives.
More people tend to donate blood when the mobile unit sets up at shopping centers because they find it more convenient, Singleton said. As an added incentive during the holidays, everyone who donates blood will get a free T-shirt (while supplies last), in addition to the usual after-donation snack.
“Blood supplies are low right now,” Benita said. “If people can come out and donate, it sure would help us out.”
• 4.5 million Americans benefit from life-saving blood transfusions each year.
• 40,000 pints are transfused each day in the United States.
• 1 out of every 3 people will require a life-saving transfusion sometime during their lifetime.
• Someone in this country needs a life-saving transfusion every 3 seconds.
• Transfusion recipients include cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, newborn babies, transplant patients, mothers delivering babies, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, etc.
• Each donation of blood can help save 3 lives following component (red cell, platelet, plasma) separation.
• Much of today’s sophisticated medical care ( transplants, heart surgeries, etc.) rely on blood transfusions.
• Car accident and trauma victims may need as many as 50 or more red cell transfusions.
• Severe burn victims may need as many as 20 platelet transfusions.
• Bone marrow transplants may require platelets from more than 100 donors and red cells from more than 20 people.
• Blood products are perishable.
• Donated red cells last only 42 days.
• Donated platelets last only five days.
• Plasma can be frozen for a year.
• The need for blood never takes a holiday.
• Nearly everyone between the ages of 17 and 75, weighing a minimum of 110 pounds and in good health can donate blood. Donors over age 75 who are healthy and meet all other donor requirements simply require a doctor’s written permission note to donate.
• 60 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood; yet on average only 5 percent of Americans donate.
• People can safely donate blood every 8 weeks.
• People can safely donate platelets every 3 days or up to 24 times a year.
How Blood Works:
• Red cells carry oxygen to the body’s organs and tissues.
• Platelets act like band-aids to form clots and stop bleeding.
• Plasma is the liquid through which blood cells, proteins, enzymes, nutrients and hormones “swim.”
• White cells, also called “leukocytes,” are the body’s primary defense against infection.
• The average person has between 8 to 10 pints of blood in their body and can easily spare one for donation.
• After donating, blood volume is replaced, or regenerated, within 24 hours. Red cells need 4 to 8 weeks for complete replacement.
• There is no substitute for human blood.