January is National Blood Donor Month, a time to celebrate the lifesaving impact of blood and platelet donors. National Blood Donor Month is a time to recognize the importance of giving blood and platelets while celebrating the lifesaving impact of those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. It is also a time to encourage new and lapsed donors to resolve to give blood during one of the most difficult times to maintain a sufficient blood supply – the winter months.
According to the American Red Cross, winter is “one of the most difficult times of year to collect enough blood products to meet patient needs.” That’s because of, among other things, busy holiday schedules and bad weather often resulting in canceled blood drives. Furthermore, seasonal illnesses such as the flu force potential donors to forgo their blood donations.
President Richard Nixon proclaimed January 1970 as the first National Blood Donor Month on December 31, 1969, as requested by Senate Joint Resolution 154, to pay tribute to voluntary blood donors and encourage new donors to join.
National Blood Donor Month comes as the nation’s blood supply has dipped to concerning levels and could force hospitals to delay essential blood and platelet transfusions. Blood donors of all blood types – particularly type O blood, the blood group hospitals need most – are needed now to give blood or platelets to help meet daily hospital demands.
5 AMAZING FACTS ABOUT BLOOD DONATIONS
- Not enough blood for all of us. According to the American Red Cross, about 38 percent of the U.S. population can donate blood — but only 10 percent actually do.
- Fill ‘er up with regular — donations. Studies show that people who begin donating blood at age 17 and donate every eight weeks will have donated 48 gallons of blood by age 76.
- Donate blood and get medical info. When we donate blood, labs examine the donation for multiple infectious diseases, such as HIV and West Nile virus.
- Dogs can donate, too! Your dog can donate blood, too. Check with your veterinarian and the Humane Society to make sure you know the local rules and regulations for this type of donation.
- The multiplier effect is huge. Every time we donate one pint of blood, the potential is there to save three lives.
National Blood Donor Month (NBDM) could not come at a more crucial time. The COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressure on the blood supply. We are encouraging blood donors to make and keep appointments to donate blood during the months to come.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL BLOOD DONOR MONTH
- Donate! Not just in honor of National Blood Donor Month, but in the simple spirit of providing the stuff of life to those who need it most. Donate now. Donate again in eight weeks. Repeat.
- Inspire! National Blood Donor Month can inspire people to donate. And those donations can in turn inspire others to donate, creating an exponential increase in blood donations when and where they’re needed the most.
- Learn and remember your blood type. What’s your blood type? Some examples: O positive donors are needed more often than other blood types. O negative donors are considered “universal donors.” AB positive donors are “universal recipients.”
Finding a place to donate is easy! Check out some of the amazing partners we work with and schedule a donation appointment today.