Why is blood donation important?

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In 2004, a campaign to promote the need for blood donation, as well as to acknowledge those individuals that give the gift of blood, was established by the World Health Organization.  This World Blood Donor Day is now a globally recognized event held annually on June 14th.  It is a reminder to advocate and educate on the benefits of giving blood.

As a donor myself, I look to the American Red Cross and their blood drives in order to give.  With World Blood Donor Day upon us, I wanted to learn more about the contributions from myself and others and how it benefits those in need.  I reached out to Matthew Riddle, Executive Director at our local chapter of the Red Cross, and put this question to him.

Why Is Blood Donation Important?

Simply stated, your one blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives.  According to Riddle, the components of your donation consist of “red blood cells, platelets, plasma” – each of which can go to a different person in need.  He goes on to explain that “only 3 out of 100 people in the U.S. give blood” and that “summer can be a difficult time to collect blood to meet patient needs.  Schools are out, colleges are out…people go on vacations, so there’s a huge need in summer for blood.”.  According to Red Cross statistics, donations drop by more than 80 percent during these months, making blood donation awareness critical.  The Red Cross must collect approximately 13,000 blood donations each day to meet the needs of patients throughout the country.

Missing Types Campaign Bolsters Awareness for Blood Need

In an effort to increase blood contributions in these reduced months, the American Red Cross will coincide with World Blood Donor Day to introduce the Missing Types campaign.  They will be joined by several national organizations and retailers in this endeavor.  Riddle explains that these entities will “take out the A, the B, or the O from their name, and their branding, and their marketing.  So, that brings awareness to the three types of blood, obviously, we have.  Type A.  Type B.  Type O.  And that’s what we need.”  This campaign from the Red Cross runs through June 30th.

How to Give Blood

Finding information on how and where to give blood is made easy by the American Red Cross.  You can visit their donor information page and then locate a local drive from there.  Additionally, you can download the Red Cross Blood Donor app from your mobile device’s app store.  With this, you will be able to find a local drive, schedule and pre-register your donation time, and see where your blood donation goes.

Giving the gift of blood is easy and safe.  Residents of Zanesville and Newark in Ohio have several opportunities throughout the year to contribute.  If you have never donated or it has been some time since your last donation, please consider using this day of observance and the American Red Cross Missing Types campaign to potentially save a life.