What is National Blood Donor Month?
January is National Blood Donor Month, which is a month dedicated to the lifesaving impact of blood and platelet donors. This celebration has taken place each January for nearly 50 years and happens to coincide with one of the most difficult times to maintain sufficient blood supplies for patients. National Blood Donor Month takes place in January because it is a typical period of critical blood shortages. People usually stop donating blood around the holidays and due to winter sicknesses. Not only are voluntary blood donors honored, but also people are encouraged to give blood during this time.
Magnitude of Need and Impact of Donations
Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood. National Blood Donor Month is a yearly reminder that the blood supply in this country requires constant replenishment. Disaster and pandemics are no exception for this need. Patients in need of blood could range from grandparents battling COVID-19 in need of convalescent plasma, a parent battling cancer, a victim of an accident being raced to the ER, or a new mom with a complicated childbirth. The Red Cross takes the blood donations and has the ability to move them around the country to wherever it is most needed. Robert Harris is a key example held up by the Red Cross as the impact a single person can have. He has been part of the blood donating process for over 50 years. Harris is an advocate for the impact of giving blood, as even when he could not give financial support, he could always give his blood as it cost him nothing but a little time. He recalls meeting a 12-year-old girl, who needed blood transfusions, and her scared father.
How to Get Involved
Get involved by donating blood or convalescent plasma. People who have recovered from COVID-19 are especially encouraged as there are COVID-19 antibodies that would help whoever received your blood or convalescent plasma. Find out where to donate by calling the Red Cross
(1-800-733-2767), contacting local medical providers for drives or locations, or by looking it up online at the Association for the Advancement of Blood & Biotherapies: https://www.aabb.org/for-donors-patients/give-blood. Blood can be donated in Bloodmobiles, which travel to many locations, or at places of work, schools, or churches, as there are usually drives organized there. Even if you cannot donate blood it is possible to still assist by recruiting a suitable donor or volunteering to assist at blood draws or to organize mobile blood drives. Monetary donations are also accepted as they ensure that blood banks continue to provide safe and adequate blood to those in need.