January is National Blood Donor Month
January is not just the start of a new year; it’s also a time for giving, gratitude, and saving lives. It’s the month when we celebrate National Blood Donor Month. This month holds a special meaning for millions of people around the world. It helps raise awareness about the importance of blood donations and appreciates those who selflessly contribute to this lifesaving cause.
According to the American Red Cross, winter is “one of the most difficult times of the year to collect enough blood products to meet patients’ needs.” The holidays, bad weather, and seasonal illnesses can all cause a drop or delay in blood donations.
Why We Need Your Help
Blood donation is vital and can help multiple populations. One such population is older adults. As we age, our bodies may encounter various health challenges and require blood transfusions due to medical conditions, surgeries, transplants, accidents, etc. Some patients you will help by donating blood are cancer patients, trauma patients, sickle cell disease patients, burn patients, and those with chronic diseases.
Consider this: a single donation can save up to three lives. For those older adults who may be in long-term care, it can mean the difference between life and death or quicker recovery. Blood is a precious resource that can’t be manufactured; we rely on the kindness of donors. Despite just one blood donation’s life-saving qualities, the United States has continually persisted through a national blood shortage, heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The impact of a single blood donation is immeasurable. It can mean a few extra years, birthdays celebrated with loved ones, and moments of joy shared with family and friends. Your generosity saves lives and enhances everyone’s well-being, fostering a healthier and happier community.
Did you know there is no age limit to donate? There have been many age-related concerns, myths about the process, and health conditions, and lack of awareness sometimes prevents many from participating in this life-saving act.
Let’s Act Together
There are several places you can go to participate in National Blood Donor Month in Missouri and Illinois:
The donation process is simple. The staff and volunteers at your blood drive or donation location will guide you throughout the process. The process takes eight to ten minutes on average, though the time you wait may vary. The basic requirements to donate, depending on the type of blood donation, are 17 years of age or older, over 110 pounds, and in good health.
Even if you cannot donate blood, many other ways exist to get involved and encourage others to donate. The Red Cross has multiple volunteer positions; from hosting your own in-person or virtual blood drive to being a Blood Donor Ambassador and even responding to crises and disasters with the Red Cross, there is a position for anyone.
So, let us come together this National Blood Donor Month to honor millions around the globe. By donating blood and encouraging others to do the same, we are not only offering a part of ourselves but the gift of life, hope, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow for many.
Together, let’s make a difference.
Written by Bianca Cortez Perez, VOYCE Intern, with editing from Shelby Collier, VOYCE Event Coordinator