For the last 44 years, January has been National Blood Donor Month, a time when the American Red Cross not only pays tribute to the 11 million people who donate each year, but encourages others to donate at a time when the blood supply gets dangerously low.
This could especially be true this year — typically, blood donation in January is at an all-year low because of post-holiday madness. Plus, ice and snow prevents donors from keeping their appointments. Given the fact that most of the entire nation feels like the Alaskan Tundra this week, things could get dicey over the next few days.
Hospitals across the nation need 44,000 donations daily to keep up with demand; every 12 seconds a patient needs some sort of blood transfusion due to surgery, cancer or traumatic injury.
Because blood shelf life is so low, a month that is already low in donations can be taxed even further. Plus, once blood has been donated, it’s separated into plasma, platelets and red blood cells. It’s then tested to make sure it’s viable (clean) — so it takes about three days before it’s ready to use in an emergency situation.
But once it’s ready to go, one donation can save up to three lives. What better way to start off the New Year than by literally giving the gift of life?