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Donate blood: save a life, but also save yourself

Why donating blood is crucial to our population, and how it benefits all individuals involved.

On June 16th, the Battle of the Badges Blood Drive held at the West Springfield Public Library was a tremendous success. Donors were lined up throughout the building waiting for an open representative from the American Red Cross to collect blood for a good cause. They were given the choice to support their preferred squad, either the town’s Police or Fire Department, and the Fire Department took the trophy home this time around.

American Red Cross Blood Drives happen nearly everywhere. They host donation sessions daily in various locations throughout the state and the country, and one can almost guarantee that there is a drive happening somewhere near them on any given day. There are ads in the newspaper, on social media websites and flyers on bulletins in public buildings. Once you give blood, the American Red Cross periodically contacts you to ask if you are interested in donating again. Most people know how important this simple action is, but do people really know why it’s so important?

Blood is the bodily fluid that allows your body’s tissues, muscles and organs to function and survive every day. It simply delivers the oxygen and carbon dioxide to these destinations in order to keep them thriving. Donating blood is thought to be the best gift that you could possibly give someone, because what you are doing is giving them a chance to live by assisting their organs in functioning every second. According to redcross.org, just one donation from one single person could save up to three different lives, but the results vary depending on blood type.

Statistically, blood transfusions are essential for one out of every seven hospital patients. Whether they were in a car accident, are battling cancer, have severe infection and/or disease, are anemic or have any other uncontrollable health issues, people need a certain amount of blood to survive. Blood donations allow doctors and nurses to have an extra supply of what they need, and without the right amount, people’s lives wouldn’t be saved every day. Constant blood donations are necessary because it doesn’t have much of a shelf life; blood can only be stored for up to six weeks before its red blood cells are unable to deliver a sufficient amount of oxygen. When it can’t deliver the oxygen, its duties to keep your body alive aren’t as effective.

Depending on blood type, your blood could be in high demand around the country and even the world. A Positive and O Positive are the most common blood type as both are said to be found in one out of every three people. O Negative is known as the universal blood type, meaning that individuals with any blood type would benefit from it. This is because its red blood cells are able to be transfused into any blood type, whether it is A, B, O, positive or negative. Its properties make it the most needed blood type, and it will always be in demand. The most rare blood type out of the group is AB Negative, which, on average, is only found in one out of every 167 people.

However, not only are you improving someone else’s life by donating blood, but you are also helping your own. Donating a fraction of your body’s blood supply every two months allows your body to keep producing more, therefore keeping your blood and iron from increasing past sufficient levels. Keeping your iron supply at a normal level and keeping it from increasing too much is linked to a lower risk of cancer. In fact, your body is able to restore the amount of lost blood within just 24 hours of the donation.

If you’re interested in donating blood for those in need sometime soon, then you’re in luck. “The Big E Super Drive” is an annual event at the Better Living Center, located at 1305 Memorial Drive in West Springfield, and this year it will be on Wednesday, July 18th. Beginning at 12:00pm, volunteers will be given the chance to donate blood and in turn receive a complimentary Six Flags ticket. The blood drive extends to 7:00pm, and walk-ins are welcomed but appointments are encouraged to ensure your spot. Make an appointment today at www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time; just type in the West Springfield area code (01089) and locate the drive on July 18th. Contact nicole.duffus@redcross.org for more information.


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