Donate blood this January
What: It takes less than an hour to donate blood, but the simple act of blood donation can save up to three lives. Even though almost 9.5 million people give blood each year, a low supply at community blood banks is not uncommon. As the winter weather becomes more extreme, not having enough blood is a huge cause for concern around the country. To help boost blood supplies, encourage regular donations, and thank all donors, this January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month.
Background: January is one of the slowest months for blood donations, as many donors are away for the holidays or can’t make it to a donation center due to inclement weather. Additionally, schools that regularly sponsor blood drives are often out of session during this month. Hospitals across the U.S. need about 38,000 blood donations each day, and a low supply puts many lives at risk. To encourage donation during this time, the American Association of Blood Banks, America’s Blood Centers, and the American Red Cross team up to support National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. Additionally, the organizations use the month to thank those who have already saved lives by giving blood.
Story Pitch: Blood transfusion is an important treatment for many diseases, including cancers and sickle cell disease. Organizations and groups that support research and spread awareness about diseases treated with blood transfusions should make others aware of the role donated blood plays in treatment. Local hospitals can educate the public on how blood is used to save lives, and how blood shortages affect the hospital. They can also encourage local businesses to host a blood drive. Health centers and hospitals should also share how people can find blood donation centers and register as donors.
Story Hook: The average adult can donate blood as often as every 56 days. Over a lifetime, a regular donor can potentially save hundreds of lives. But fewer than 38 percent of Americans are eligible to give. How can those who are ineligible to donate still help? How can eligible people make blood donation a regular volunteer activity? Keep the following in mind as you make your pitch:
- How can people who want to donate find a nearby donation center?
- What is the donation process like? What should donors be prepared for?
- Why are there strict guidelines for donating blood?
- Donated whole blood can be broken down into components and used for different kinds of treatments. What are these components and how are they used to save lives?
- Animal patients at veterinary clinics are also in need of blood. How can a pet become a donor?
Tips: Provide the contact information for a regular donor who can speak on blood donation. Additionally, someone whose life has been saved because of donated blood can share their story.
America’s Blood Centers
American Red Cross
United Blood Services
–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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