By Stephanie Lingenfelter
Editor in Chief
“Give something that means something.” That’s the American Red Cross’s slogan for this holiday season. The gift they’re referring to is blood and plasma because according to Redcross.org, they respond to an emergency every eight minutes, requiring lots of blood to do so.
American Red Cross Account Manager Donna Watson explained some of the things the donated blood or plasma can go towards.
“If someone has had a car accident, they need blood after a car accident. Cancer patients need blood on a consistent basis and someone who has been burnt in a fire or anything, they possibly need plasma. My mom, in particular, needed blood after having me or she wouldn’t be alive today. She needed eight pints of blood when I was born, so that saved her life. There are multiple surgeries that could go wrong. Multiple, multiple, multiple reasons, but your main things are accidents, surgery, cancer patients and burn victims,” Watson said.
Students can start donating at age 16 with parental consent and Watson advises to think about the impact made if there are any fears regarding donating blood.
“My big thing I tell people is think about why you’re giving. Is there someone you know who has been in a car accident? Is there someone you know who had cancer or has cancer? Think about that, not the needle,” Watson said. “Don’t think about the needle, think about the reason why you’re doing it. It makes a big difference. The needle looks big, but it’s just one little stick and that’s it. If you eat properly and are hydrated, the chance of reactions are slim.”
Watson encourages anyone interested to visit redcrossblood.org to see a list of nearby drives and donate every 56 days.
“They have to have parent consent at 16 years old, but then they’re able to donate every 56 days, so either go to redcrossblood.org and find a blood drive in your area, talk to somebody you know donates and buddy up. Donate every 56 days, that’s what we need,” Watson said.
There are some restrictions for those who can donate, but a 35 question test before donating will determine who can and can’t donate. Watson also explained why people who visited Europe in the 80s can’t donate.
“There’s a series of questions done in the Health History or on our rapid pass (they get on their phone and answer those questions prior to donating), but there’s about 35 questions and it asks multiple things about your health, where you’ve been. People who were in Europe in the 80s can’t donate for life because of Mad Cow Disease and there’s no way to test that. After the blood has been drawn from the donor, we’ll send it to testing labs. It is tested for multiple things,” Watson said.
The Red Cross is in constant need of blood, especially O-, so anyone 16 and up is encouraged to, “give something that means something.”
There will be a blood drive at the White River Library on Dec. 27. for anyone who wants to donate.