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National Blood Donor Month: Why It Is Important to Donate Blood

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January is National Blood Donor Month, and the American Red Cross continues to encourage people to donate blood, especially in the winter months when it is in short supply.

Susie Stages, an American Red Cross phlebotomist, shared: “There’s always a shortage… For some reason during the winter months, the number of donors drops off.”

Only one of every 100 people in the United States donates blood, while the average red blood cell transfusion is three pints.

According to Stages, people are sometimes scared at the thought of donating blood, and the needles that are necessary to accomplish that donation. But 66-year-old blood donor Char Smith, who has been donating blood for around two decades, shared that it is not a big deal. A blood type O positive, Smith’s blood type is the most common type in the United States, and is the type needed the most by hospitals across the country.

On a daily basis, there is a need for more than 38,000 blood donations; someone, somewhere in the country needs blood every two seconds. Blood drives, like the one organized at the Burleson’s Senior Center where Smith donated blood, help meet that demand.

Those who are interested in donating blood may visit the Red Cross website, or a Red Cross chapter in your area. Blood donors should at least be 17 years old and 110 pounds; they should present a photo I.D. and answer a list of personal history questions.