The gift of a blood donation is needed yearround and is always welcomed.
“Urgent need” were the two words that pulled my heartstrings.
Hurricane Irma had forced OneBlood, the not-for-profit blood center in Florida, to suspend operations for three days in September, and as a result, the blood bank pleaded for donors.
I rolled up my sleeve.
My A+ blood type, and being born with a high platelet count, makes me an ideal donor to give the blood component that’s in constant demand by hospitals. Platelets are the tiny cells in the blood that form clots, and without a platelet transfusion, cancer patients face life-threatening bleeding. Platelets also are needed in cardiac surgeries.
OneBlood says those with B+, AB-, AB+, and O+ blood types can donate platelets, too, up to 24 times a year.
I’ve made a personal commitment to become a regular donor.
It’s the least I can do.
My mother would have died had it not been for blood donations that kept her alive when she experienced complications before my birth.
Platelet donations also allowed my late husband to survive a traumatic brain injury at age 33; he went on to live an additional 32 years.
One in three people will need blood in their lifetime, according to OneBlood. Blood donations are likely transfused within two to three days.
The turnaround is that fast; the need is continuous. Donating blood is more than a selfless act; it’s also beneficial for donors’ health. OneBlood says some studies show men who donate at least three times a year can drastically reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Donating also keeps donors’ iron levels balanced, reducing health ailments caused by iron overload.
Several dedicated donors have been giving for years, including these amazing folks: Lowell C. Collins, 87, of Lake County, has made more than 1,180 platelet donations; Michael D. Adams, 55, tops the list in Sumter County with 638 donations. The oldest blood donor in Lake County is Ellen T. Brown at 92; EdithMarie Treu, 91, is the oldest in Sumter to donate blood, while OneBlood notes its oldest overall donor was Nadine L. Hall, 109, who donated last December.
OneBlood spokesman Pat Michaels says Ronald G. Howard, 61, of Orlando, holds the record throughout the system for having donated platelets more than 1,439 times and generating more than 180 gallons.
To learn more about donating and local blood center locations, visit oneblood.org.