Earlier this week a small town in Oklahoma experienced a category 5 tornado and many people were injured and lives were lost.

Sadly, the next disaster, tragic event, or emergent situation is right around the corner. We can never be sure what is going to happen, but we can be sure something will, at some point in our lives, happen. In times like these, it’s incredibly important for hospitals and clinics to have a healthy, reliable and steady supply of donor blood.

Eye opening facts and figures

According to the Red Cross, one single car accident victim may require up to 100 pints of blood. If you’re anything like me, “100 pints” doesn’t exactly translate to a clear mental picture; so let me paint you one.

  • 100 pints equals 12.5 gallons.
  • 100 pints equals almost 24 two-liter containers.
  • 100 pints equals just over 133 cans of soda pop.

 

That’s a lot… Right?

Approximately 38 percent of the US population is qualified to donate blood, yet only 9.5 million people donate each year. That means of the nearly 120 million people who can donate blood, less than 8 percent of those people do.

            Our fearless author setting a good example.

How to increase blood donations

Awareness and education are key to promoting the importance of blood donation. There are many common misconceptions about the blood donation process.

Many people think it takes a long time to donate blood, but the process only takes about ten minutes for the donation and then another fifteen minutes or so to have a snack and recover.

Another common misconception is that giving blood drains the body of too much blood and the donor feels sick afterwards. However, the average blood donation is 1 unit of blood, and the average human adult has approximately 10 units of blood circulating in his or her body.

After a few minutes of rest and a light snack, most donors feel completely normal.

100 donors

That means it can take up to 100 blood donations to save the life of that one car accident victim I mentioned earlier. Most “typical” blood transfusions are around 3 units, which require 3 donors, but in trauma situations these transfusions may require a lot more blood.

So as I think about recent events like the tornado in Oklahoma, the explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas and the bombing in Boston, I realize that there is great need to increase the number of blood donors around the nation.

This can only happen if blood donation becomes a topic of discussion across multiple media outlets and sources.

Do your part

First and foremost, if you are reading this, tell someone. Share the blog. Write a post about donating blood. Tweet to your friends. Spread the word. Whatever you do, tell at least one person.

Secondly, find out if you are one of the 38% who can donate blood, and if you are, donate! If you are currently a donor, keep donating! You can visit the American Red Cross website to find a donation site near you.

If you are unable to donate, volunteer at local blood drives or contact the Red Cross about volunteering with them.

Put yourself in the shoes of that car accident victim who needs 100 pints of blood to live. Wouldn’t you appreciate each and every donor who was responsible for saving your life? Yeah, my point exactly.

So, please, please, please… donate blood.