by Alyssa Cohen ’21
The act of donating blood is a small way to pay it forward that can make a tremendous impact on humanity. The entire blood donation process typically takes about one to two hours—and for each successful donation of one pint of blood, the donor could save up to three lives.
According to the Red Cross, blood transfusions are the most common procedure performed in hospitals, as they are used to treat patients with a variety of health problems, from people with severe anemia, to cancer patients and those with rare blood disorders, to trauma victims. In fact, one out of every seven people who are admitted to a hospital will receive a blood transfusion—32,000 pints of blood are transfused nationwide on a daily basis.
In turn, aside from the incentive of potentially saving three human lives and providing units to replenish blood bank shortages, donating blood also boasts personal health benefits.
Donating blood can reduce an individual’s risk for hemochromatosis, or excess absorption of iron by the body, which can concurrently reduce an individual’s risk for cancer, as well as heart and liver disease. Also, according to the Red Cross, blood donation stimulates red blood cell production, which can improve energy and expedite weight loss.
Additionally, there is a national deficit of units in blood banks. This poses a threat to the health of those reliant upon transfusions. This supply deficit at blood banks only increases the necessity of donor participation in nearby drives.
Our local community in particular is in need of donors, as the Rhode Island Blood Center is presently experiencing a shortage in donations.
Kara LeBlanc, a manager at the RIBC, reported to Turnto10 news over the summer, “Our donor base is dwindling, we certainly need new donors.”
If you are interested in donating blood in the near future, you can participate in the frequent drives held right on the PC campus by the Rhode Island Blood Center in ‘64 Hall. Free pizza and snacks are typically provided for donors and sometimes participants may be entered into drawings for prizes such as Patriots tickets.
If for any reason you may be disqualified from donating, there are other roles you can fulfill at community drives. Blood drive coordinators and volunteers are equally as critical as donors in the effectiveness of organizations such as the Rhode Island Blood Center or American Red Cross.
Given the commonality of transfusion procedures, you never know when you or someone you care about may require a unit of blood, so pay it forward, help save three lives, and donate blood at the next opportunity that presents itself.