Everyone has heard of the importance of donating blood, but only about 5% of the population actually does, and there are regular shortages. On Friday, January 25th between 10am and 4pm San Dimas Community Hospital will be hosting its regular blood drive to stave off those shortages.
"We don't get enough donors," says Frances Goupil, who coordinates the blood drives at both San Dimas and Montclair Hospital Medical Center. "I personally donate because I had a brother in law who was in a motorcycle accident who needed blood, and if we don't donate where are we going to get it when a family member needs it?"
According to the Red Cross, every two seconds someone needs a blood transfusion – approximately 5 million patients a year. One pint of blood can save up to three lives, and most have been, or know someone, who has been the recipient of a transfusion.
Goupil noted that in the coming year she plans to do further research on which blood bank partners support the local area the most, and provide more education to the community showing that what gets donated locally really does have a positive impact right here at home.
If you're considering donating, here's what you need to know:
- Before you donate, have a light meal and plenty to drink.
- You must have identification to donate – a donor card, driver's license, or two other forms of ID.
- Donors must be at least 110 lbs, and be at least 17 years old
- You can expect to fill out a simple form, and show ID, answer some questions during a private interview about your health history and places you've traveled.
You can donate blood every 62 days, but you can also donate platelets and plasma much more often – every 7 or 28 days, respectively. Each of the hospitals hosts a blood drive every two months, so a person can attend every drive.
Some additional benefits are that you will receive a mini-physical to check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and hemoglobin. San Dimas Community Hospital also provides lunch, and a free t-shirt. The actual donation takes only about 8-10 minutes, then you'll have something to eat and ten to fifteen minutes later you'll be on your way again. Make it fun, as well as doubly rewarding by inviting a friend to donate too.
If you can't make time then, regular blood drives are happening throughout the community – check the Red Cross website for more information. They also have detailed information about eligibility, if you have concerns. Visit the Red Cross website www.redcrossblood.org for more information.