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How To Save A Life

By Ainsley Buckner

This Happened To Me
I donated blood for the first time a few years ago when there was a major blood shortage
in my community. From registering, to giving my health history, to
actually donating, to the refreshments and recovery after I finished, everything was very
interesting and cool. What made it so exciting was that I was able to find what my blood
type was, and I was always so curious to know that part about me. After I donated, I was given a
free shirt, free snacks, and juice! My favorite part about donating blood was when I received a
card in the mail that my blood was used to help someone else’s life. Ever since I donated blood,
I have continued to regularly donate my blood every three months because of the many health
benefits it has, my desire to help others, and the crucial need for people to donate blood.


“My story is not unique, here’s the problem”
The public health problem present in my story is about blood safety and availability and
also preparedness. Because not everyone is alike and not everyone donates their blood, my
community is not the only one that has ever suffered a blood shortage before. According to the
American Red Cross, the problem has become very bad. Around the world, we are currently
experiencing a national crisis, and it was even mentioned numerous times in the article that this
was the worst blood shortage in over a decade (2). The low blood supply is mainly because there
are not enough people donating blood. In fact, it is estimated that only 3% of all age-eligible people donate blood yearly, so donating blood even if you meet the age requirement is
uncommon (1).

Did you know that approximately 4.5 million Americans die each year without
lifesaving blood transfusions, 32,000 pints of blood are used each day in the US, and every two
seconds there is someone in need of blood (2)? If we do not have donors to donate blood, the
people that will be affected by the ongoing blood crisis are those in need of blood transfusions,
surgeries, accident victims, cancer patients, and many more. Without an adequate supply of
blood in the hospitals, our physicians and nurses will be forced to limit those who can and can’t
receive blood transfusions. This is why it is imperative for people to donate blood if they are
eligible so patients and victims can have the same equal opportunity and the best shot at survival.
Donating blood is also an effective way to find out if you have any diseases or illnesses. This is
because everyone who donates will have their blood screened to make sure it is safe to be
transfused to others. This can also lead to early detection of cancers or other diseases and could
even save your own life.


“Here is a non-profit working to solve the problem”
The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization that is part of the world’s largest
humanitarian network with 13 million volunteers in 187 countries (2). Some of the services that
the American Red Cross works to provide are creating shelters, feeding and providing comfort to
victims of disasters, supplying about 40% of the nation’s blood, teaching skills that save lives,
distributing international humanitarian aid, and supporting military members and their
families (2). For the blood shortage problem to be solved, we would need everyone who can
safely donate blood and meet all the requirements to do so/ We would also need to donate at least one to
two times a year just to keep the supply high. The American Red Cross uses incentives
like free T-shirts, gift cards, raffles, cups, socks, and other items in order to attract people to want
to donate blood. They also provide all donors with free beverages and snacks while they wait!
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that another way to solve the problem would be
to increase volunteers and the strength of the donation centers (1). This could increase the
donation turnouts which will lead to increased access to and supply of blood in hospitals.


“Here’s what you (the reader) can do to help, right now!” Get up and donate blood! That is the only way one person can help make a difference and
change the blood crisis we are experiencing. The requirements to donate blood are that you must
be 16 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. You must also be free of disease or illness and be
in good health. A person can donate blood every 56 days, which could be as many times as six
times a year (2). The whole donation process takes less than an hour in total and is relatively
painless. You can also receive free gifts and free snacks for donating! If you meet these
requirements, enjoy free snacks and gifts, have free time, and feel empowered to help save
someone’s life, click on the link below and find a blood donation center near you!
https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive

References

-Blood safety and availability, World Health Organization, 26 May 2022,
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blood-safety-and-availability.

-Red cross declares first-ever blood crisis amid omicron surge, American Red Cross, 11
Jan. 2022,
https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/press-release/2022/blood-don
ors-needed-now-as-omicron-intensifies.html.

Categories: Home, op ed

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