Blood Donation and Typing

With the cold weather breezing through town, facilities have seen a decrease in donors. More than 300 blood drives in 25 states had to be cancelled due to the snow, resulting in a shortfall of 9,300 blood donations.

“We do need all types and usually we’re low on the negative types. There are eight blood types, usually four of them we’re specifically low on but every one is needed. So please if you’re eligible, come on in,” said Senior Marketing Representative for Heartland Blood Center, Kelly Van De Mark.

To donate, you must be at least seventeen, more than 110 pounds, and pass a blood screening. One donation can save up to three lives.

“It’s very easy to donate blood; it takes about 45 minutes to an hour. It’s very easy, fairly painless, I’m not going to lie, you will feel a little pinch on the inside of your arm, maybe just a little bit, then you’re just lying back and relaxing,” said Van De Mark.

“In your body right now you have about 10 to 12 pints of blood. It’s perfectly safe to donate one, actually two pints of blood because your body reproduces it. It takes about 42 days for your body to reproduce that blood,” said Donor Recruitment Representative for the Red Cross, Phillip Sanfratello.

Donated blood helps cancer and leukemia patients, burn and car accident victims, and those getting a transplant or heart surgery. However, only ten percent of the people that can donate actually do.

“The number one reason why people don’t donate blood is because nobody has ever asked them to donate,” said Philliip Sanfratello.

“Maybe they’re afraid of needles, but a lot of people get tattoos for one, so needles, we do encounter them from time to time,” said Kelly Van De Mark.

After you donate blood, you will receive a donor card. On it, you’ll find your blood type. It’s important to know which one of the eight categories your blood type falls into. For example, Type O-negative is universal, needed in all hospitals across the country; but less than ten percent of U.S. donors actually match that category.

“The benefits of knowing your blood type would be that you know which type of patients you can help. How rare your blood type is. You might find out that we are in great need of platelets because you are A-Positive,” said Van De Mark.

“The most common blood type is O-Positive and Type A-Positive. The universal donor is O-Negative, so we really love to have people with Type O-Negative donate, because anyone can receive that blood,” said Sanfratello.

In the U.S. someone needs blood every two seconds, from a newborn baby to a cancer survivor. 41,000 pints of blood are needed nationwide every day.

To find out where to donate, visit redcrossblood.org or HeartlandBC.org

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