DAYTON — January National Blood Donor Month 2018 is more than a time to honor blood donors and raise awareness about the winter challenges to our region’s blood supply. Community Blood Center enters the New Year with the mission of building a new community of dedicated platelet and plasma donors.
The blood components of platelets and plasma are essential clotting mechanisms for the human body, and they can only come from volunteer donors. They are vital for the treatment of cancer patients and emergency room patients, and they are in constant demand because of a “short shelf life” that demands they be transfused within three days after donation.
The automated process of giving platelets and plasma is called “apheresis” and the number of these special donors is dwindling.
It’s fitting that ER physician and lifetime donor Rep. Steve Huffman of Miami County has introduced House Bill 252 to designate January as “Blood Donor Awareness Month” in Ohio. CBC has testified in support of the bill before both House and Senate Health Committees.
The Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee could vote to approve the bill this January, clearing the way for it to become law.
“Young people represent the next generation of donors,” CBC Donor Relations Director Andrew said in testimony to the Senate Health Committee.
“About 53 percent of the CBC donor base is over the age of 50,” Keelor said. “Baby Boomers” have proven to be an extremely loyal group of donors, but many are reaching an age when they are able to donate less frequently, or may not be able to donate at all. In addition, many are facing health concerns that require them to become blood recipients.”
The tradition of January National Blood Donor Month began in 1970 to raise awareness that blood is often in short supply during the winter months. Snow storms, school cancelations, difficult road conditions and seasonal illness combine to make blood collections more difficult.
CBC begins the New Year with an ample reserve in place to reliably provide blood to its 25 partner hospitals and health centers across a 15-county service area. CBC is confident it can meet the demand for platelet and plasma through careful blood collection planning and a committed response from the community.
CBC is welcoming new donors, and encouraging current whole blood donors with blood types A positive, B positive, and type AB to consider becoming apheresis donors. Whole blood donors interested in learning if they are eligible to donate platelets and plasma should call CBC’s Ashley Christian at (937) 461-3476.
Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, and less than 10 percent donate annually. A whole blood donation takes about an hour. Donors are encouraged to schedule an appointment online at www.DonorTime.com or call (800) 388-GIVE.
If you are at least 17 years of age (16 with parental consent), weigh at least 110 pounds (you may have to weigh more depending on your height) and meet other donor requirements, you may be eligible to donate blood. Learn more at www.GivingBlood.org.