Anyone in good health, at least 17 years of age and at least 110 pounds has an automatic gift they can share with others: donating blood, which is the gift of life.
Itâ€™s a gift that saves on average 4.5 million Americans each year through blood transfusions.
Unfortunately, the upcoming summer season and the winter season are times when the nationâ€™s blood supply are short. Critically short, as in low or almost nonexistent.
Recently, members of the Denver Fire Department held a blood drive to benefit Community Blood Center (CBC).
Denver resident Denver Gentry was the first to give blood at the most recent blood drive, the third in 18 months for DFD.
â€œI usually donate once or twice per year where I work,â€ said Gentry. â€œHowever, I heard about the blood drive here and thought Iâ€™d donate.â€
To Gentry, the reason to donate is quite simple.
â€œItâ€™s important because blood is something thatâ€™s needed,â€ said Gentry. â€œHospitals need the blood.â€
Blood donated to the Community Blood Center stays in the local community.
Hospitals like Carolinas Medical Center – Lincoln and Presbyterian – Huntersville will benefit from blood donors at this and other blood drives.
According to DFD batallian chief Dion Burleson, the decision to utilize the CBC was simple.
â€œChurches in the area use the American Red Cross,â€ said Burleson. â€œWe thought weâ€™d go with someone different.â€
Burleson said heâ€™s seen an increase in participation with each blood drive.
â€œWith the DFD being a community service-based organization, what better way to further that community service than to partner with the CBC,â€ said Burleson.
According to the CBC, a person who meets the above-referenced criteria can donate blood every 56 days.
The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in the body; one pint can save three lives.
In the United States, 32,000 pints of blood are used each day. Someone needs blood about every three seconds and one out of every 10 hospital patients need blood.
Sheena Blake was one of two nurses on duty at the DFD blood drive, waiting to collect blood from her first donator.
Blake said once the paperwork and pre-health screenings are completed, the process of donating itself is quick.
â€˜It usually takes about five to 15 minutes,â€ said Blake, adding the entire process of donating blood from paperwork to snacks takes roughly one hour.
As Denver Gentry was giving blood, Blake apologized for pulling the hair from his arm.
â€œHair removal is free,â€ said Blake. â€œItâ€™s on the house.â€
The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas started in 2001, when members of the North Carolina Hospital Association began discussing the need for a network of independent blood centers to ensure a blood supply for the state and to combat rising blood prices.
While the project didnâ€™t come to fruition, 10 Charlotte-area hospitals brought forth CBC.
CBC is a member of Americaâ€™s Blood Centers, which is a group of 75 independent blood centers that supplies 48 percent of the countryâ€™s blood.
Other blood facts
Â· Blood makes up about seven percent of total body weight.
Â· About 48 gallons is the amount of blood a person could donate beginning at age 17 and donating every 56 days until the age of 76.
Â· A total of 14 tests are performed on each unit of donated blood.
Â· Donated red blood cells have a shelf-life of 42 days.
Â· One pint of blood can be separated into several components including red blood cells; white blood cells; plasma and platelets.
by Jon Mayhew