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Giving Blood Can Save A Life – Billerica Community Blood Drive – April 20th

Have you ever thought about giving blood – then didn’t?  Did you know (according to a 2009 flyer from the American National Red Cross)??

– The share of the US population eligible to donate – 38%

– Percent of eligible who actually donate – 5%

-The two most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” AND “I don’t like needles.”

Every 2 seconds someone in the US needs blood

More than 38k blood donations are needed every date

One out of every 10 people admitted in a hosital needs blood.

One donation can help save or sustain up to 3 lives

An average adult body contains 10 – 12 units of blood

– The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints

– The blood type most often requested by hosptials is Type O

– More than 1 million new people are diagnosed wth cancer each year.  Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their treatment

– Sickle cell disease affects more than 80k people in the US, 98% of whom are Aftican Americans

– A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood

– Only 3% of the US population has AB positive blood

Type O negative blood is needed in emergencies before the patient’s blood type is known and with newborns who need blood

– The American Red Cross accepts blood doantions only from volunteer donors

Not convinced yet – Here are some common questions whose answer may help you to decide

Will it hurt?  It may feel like a slight pinch or sting for just a second.  But there is no pain during the donation.  More importantly – how good will you feel knowing that what you are doing will help save lives.

How long will it take?  The entire donation process from registration to refreshments takes approximately 1 hour.  The actual donation takes approximately 7 to 10 minutes.

Is it safe?  Yes.  You cannot acquire HIV or any other disease from donating.  A new sterile needle is used for every donation and then discarded.

How much blood is taken?  One unit which is a little less than a pint

How long will it take to replenish?  Blood volume or plasma is replaced within 24 hours.  Red cells need about 4 to 8 weeks to complete replacement.  You can donate again in 50 days (or 8 weeks).

Can I work after I donate?  Donors should drink extra fluieds and avoid strenuous exercise. Avoid lifting heavy objects with your donation arm for about 4 or 5 hours after you donate.

I was recently deferred for low hematocrit (red blood cell count).  Can I attempt to donate again?  Yes.  If your low hematocrit is due to low iron, you can increase your intake of high iron foods or supplements.  Food rich in iron include red meats, raisins, fish, poultry, broccoli, beans and prunes.  Eating foods rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, broccoli and tomatoes helps your body absorb the iron you eat.

What happens to my blood after I donate?  Every  unit of whole blood goes through up to 12 tests to ensure patient safety.  Your blood will be tested for ABO group (blood type) and Rh type (positive or negative).  Blood is then tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.  Typically each donated unit of whole blood is then separated into multiple components such as red blood cells, plasma and platelets.  Each component is generally transfused to different individuals depending on their needs.

Why should I give blood?  Because you never know when you or someone you know will need it. 

HOPEFULLY WE HAVE DEMYSTIFIED ANY MYTHS YOU MAY HAVE ABOUT GIVING BLOOD – ANSWERED ALL QUESTIONS – Please donate on Friday, April 20th, at the Courtyard Marriott in Billerica on Concord Rd between the hours of 9am to 2pm.  This Community Blood Drive is being sponsored by Woods Real Estate in Billerica. 

As the American Red Cross says – “The need is constant. The gratification is instant.  Give Blood”     Visit, click “make a donation appointment”, enter 01821 as the zip code, and look for April 20th.  You will be glad you did. 

Even if you don’t make an advance appointment walk ins are also welcome.  Don’t hesitate.  Give Blood. 

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