ARC issues national appeal for blood donations

By Lesley Jenkins
Star Staff
Imagine this: a man is lying by the road injured from a car accident. He is unconscience and bleeding very badly. You are the first person to arrive on the scene and all you need to do is apply pressure to the injured area and wait for trained medical assistance. The man could bleed to death if you don't help him. Would you stop? Would you take the extra few minutes to save this man's life?
Now is the time to help save another person's life. Without even getting blood on your hands, you can sit in a chair, relax while a nurse draws your blood, and, afterwards, receive a snack.
The American Red Cross, American Blood Centers, and American Association of Blood Banks has issued a national appeal for blood donations. It is now your chance to help save three lives with one donation.
"Our goal is to make you feel better when you leave than you did when you come in the door because you helped save 3 lives," said Sherrie Greenwell, donor recruitment representative for Johnson City Blood Center.
Donated blood is broken down into 3 parts: red cells, platelets and plasma. These 3 parts can be given to 3 different people and save each of their lives.
"We remain on a national appeal, which is where ARC, ABC and AABC have joined together and said we need donors to step up and give blood," said Greenwell.
During the summer months, donations decline because donors forget about donating, college students aren't at school, and businesses that usually host a donation are reluctant because their staff is shorter because of vacations.
"We need donors to say 'I want to help. I want to do my part. I want to give blood,'" said Greenwell.
Because the ARC serves hospitals at local, regional and national locations, donors can feel they are making a difference everywhere with their pint sized donation.
Blood donations will be taken on Aug. 8 at Elizabethton Electric from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and at Wal-Mart in Elizabethton on Aug. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The ARC is on a national appeal for all blood types. The blood supply is extremely low with O positive on a 1.3 day supply, O negative on a 1.3 day supply, A positive on a 2.5 day supply, B positive on a 1.2 day supply, A negative on a 2 day supply and B negative on a 2 day supply.
"We need everything," said Greenwell. Type O negative blood can be transfused to patients with any blood type. They are considered to be "universal donors." A shortage of type O blood is the worst of all blood shortages, because type O blood must be available to treat trauma patients, as well as meet the transfusion needs of all type O patients. A shortage of type O is responsible for most emergency appeals for blood donors nationally.
If you would like to do your part in saving someone's life, it could take less than an hour to complete the process. Donors will be required to read materials, complete paperwork and receive a mini-physical performed by a nurse. The donation takes approximately 15 minutes. T-shirts will be given to donors.
Greenwell suggests that donors eat at least two hours before donating to ensure their blood sugar doesn't drop too low after blood is drawn. Donors must be over 18 years old, 17 with parental permission, weigh at least 110 pounds, and have not donated within 56 days. There is no upper age limit to donate as long as the blood donor is healthy.
Blood donors must be free of infection and not taking antibiotics. Blood pressure should not exceed 180/100. Donations are still accepted even if the donor is taking blood pressure medication or if he/she is a diabetic, except for diabetics who use injectable insulin.
The statistics are heart wrenching. Of patients entering the hospital, 1 out of 10 needs blood. Hospitals use about 1,500 blood products a day. Every 2 seconds, someone in the United States receives a blood transfusion. However, only 5 percent of the eligible population gives blood.
In less than an hour, a donor can get some cookies and juice, a free T-shirt, save 3 lives, and become part of the five percent that desperately needs to increase.