The Times West Virginian

Opinion

July 12, 2013

Help save a life through tradition of giving back during blood drive

It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.

When the Times West Virginian decided to host an American Red Cross blood drive, we had a goal in mind. We wanted the organization to come to Fairmont and walk away with at least 100 usable units of blood.

While we’re at about 20 percent of that goal through preregistration with a little less than three weeks before the July 30 drive, we know we’ll hit that magic number. We have every reason to believe we’ll even exceed it. Why? Because this community gives back.

And the blood and blood products collected that day will literally save a life.

It will go toward cancer patients. It will go toward trauma care. It will go to surgery patients. It will go to premature babies. It will go toward aneurism patients.

The list of the kind of patients who will benefit from donated blood goes on and on. All ages, all walks of life, all different reasons to need donations of blood.

And that’s really the only common factor in this vast group of people — having to rely on donations.

“It helps save lives; that’s the bottom line,” Cheryl Gergely, communications manager for the American Red Cross, said. “The only source for blood and blood prod­ucts is people who come in and donate blood. There’s no drug or medication that can substitute for it. It has to come from a live, human donor who takes the time to help save lives.”

Earlier this week, the American Red Cross issued an emergency request for blood donations. Many fewer donors than expected gave blood during June and the first week of July. Donations were down by 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 fewer donations than expected.

Considering that the American Red Cross must collect almost 17,000 pints of blood for patients every day at nearly 3,000 hospitals, transfusion centers and drives across the country, a shortfall of 50,000 creates a critical need. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion.

The Times West Virginian’s drive will be from 1-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, in the Fairmont Senior High School cafeteria.

You can help. If you can spare an hour of your time, you will walk away knowing that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. Contact Managing Editor Misty Poe at 304-367-2523 or at mpoe@timeswv.com to volunteer to donate blood that day.

The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give blood.

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