According to the American Red Cross, the organization is experiencing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. The dangerously low blood supply levels have forced some hospitals to defer patients from major surgery, including organ transplants. 

The organization is even capitalizing on National Blood Donation Month, which has been observed for more than 53 years by offering anyone who donates blood from Jan. 1- Jan. 31 an opportunity to win tickets to Super Bowl LV1, which will be played Sunday, Feb. 13, at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

And while a chance to head to Los Angeles to see the biggest game of the year is quite a motivator, the fact remains that donating blood is a good thing to do because it saves lives. 

According to the American Red Cross, a single blood donation can save up to three lives

Healthy individuals 17 years or older who weigh at least 110 pounds are able to donate blood, and 16-year olds may donate as long as they weigh at least 130 pounds and have signed parental consent. Most people realize soon after their first donation experience that donating blood is safe, easy and painless. Moreover, donating blood is completely safe. 

More Facts about Blood Needs

• Every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood and or platelets. 

• Approximately 29,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U. S. 

• Nearly 5,000 units of platelets and 6.500 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S. 

• Less than 38 percent of the population is eligible to give blood or platelets.

• Nearly 16 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.

• Sickle cell disease affects 90,000 to 100,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.

• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately three units.

• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

• Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured; they can only come from volunteer donors.

• The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.

One donation can potentially save up to three lives.

• According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.8 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2020. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

Why African-American Blood Donors are Important

Blood donors who are Black play a critical role in helping people with sickle cell disease, the most common genetic blood disease in the U.S. Patients with the disease may rely on regular blood transfusions throughout their lives to help prevent sickle cell complications, such as organ and tissue damage, severe pain, and strokes. It is essential that the blood they receive be the most compatible match possible, which generally comes from someone of the same race or similar ethnicity. Today, there aren’t enough blood donors to help meet this urgent need. African American individuals make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but less than 3 percent of blood donors. 

By donating blood, you may make a difference in the lives of patients with sickle cell disease as well as moms with complicated childbirths, people fighting cancer, accident or trauma victims being raced to emergency rooms, and more. Your single blood donation may even help save more than one life!

COVID-19 and Blood Donation

Donating blood is a safe process and an essential service. Patients, especially those with sickle cell disease, need donors now more than ever. The Red Cross has implemented rigorous protocols to ensure the safety of everyone at our blood drives including enhanced disinfection measures for all surfaces and equipment, and social distancing between donation beds and waiting and refreshment areas. Additionally, for the safety of our donor community, the Red Cross has updated its pandemic safety protocols in alignment with CDC and OSHA guidance. Fully vaccinated individuals including staff and blood donors will no longer need to wear masks or socially distance beginning May 21. Unvaccinated individuals will continue to be required to wear masks and socially distance. The Red Cross will adhere to more stringent face mask requirements per state and/or local guidance or at the request of our blood drive sponsors.

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