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How your blood donation really makes a difference.

“We need approximately 1,200 people to donate blood or platelets every single weekday," says Kristen Stancil, communications program manager at the American Red Cross Southern Blood Services Region. Supplies run low during winter and summer months when school is not in session and families are traveling.

Students make up about 20 percent of all blood donors and many donate on their school’s campus. When they are not in school, the Red Cross sees a drop in blood donations.

The Southern Region services more than 120 hospitals in the region, including Piedmont's five hospitals, making the need for blood constant.

“That’s why you hear from us so often, because we want to make sure we can provide blood to our hospitals so patients have it when they need it," she explains.

Which blood types are most needed

“There’s always a need for all blood types, but especially our type O donors,” she says. “If you’re type O negative, we definitely encourage you to make an appointment as soon as you’re able to donate.”

Type O is the universal blood type and can be used for any patient during an emergency. “If there is a big emergency situation, a doctor might not have time to cross match blood types, so type O can be used for any type of patient,” she says. “That’s why it’s so important to have that blood type on hand.”

Blood components

Blood consists of several components, including platelets and plasma, both of which can be donated to help a variety of patients. “Plasma can be used to treat burn victims or someone with some type of bleeding disorder,” says Stancil. “Platelets are the clotting factor in the blood and can be used for someone undergoing cancer treatments, such as someone with leukemia. There’s more than one use for your blood. It’s not just about helping a trauma patient or someone who has been in an accident.”

One blood donation can save up to three lives and only takes a little more than an hour of your time. “You never know what impact you might be having on someone’s life,” she says.

“It might be a mother who’s given birth who needs blood, it could be a teenager that’s been in an accident. You could be helping a stranger, but at the same time, you could be helping your neighbor, a family member or loved one. You never know who the blood is going to or what use they might have for it. I know blood recipients are very thankful for people who donate blood and make time to do it.”

To find a blood donation center or blood drive near you, visit the American Red Cross.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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