Giving blood a gift that gives forever

IT’S CALLED THE GIFT of life for many reasons. And best of all, it takes very little time and even better, no money, to give it.

It is giving blood and the opportunities to do so are many, right here in Plymouth and elsewhere throughout the county and area.

There are many around us who perform miraculous life-saving actions as part of their work or livelihood, but you don’t have to be a trained medical professional, an emergency responder or even do anything dangerous or threatening to save a life – it’s as simple as donating blood, something more of us should be doing.

The need for blood never ends, whether for medical procedures or in response to disasters or tragedies.

It is estimated that, over their lifetimes, one in every three or four people will need at least one blood transfusion. That means that all of us certainly know at least one person who has needed or will sometime need a blood transfusion – someone that we can help.

It is estimated that every two seconds, somewhere in the world, someone needs a blood transfusion. That’s a tremendous demand that must be met constantly.

And since blood can only be stored for a limited amount of time, the need for replenishing and maintaining the supply is constant.

Just one pint of donated blood can be broken down into three components – red cells, platelets and plasma – which can then be used for three different patients with needs. Thus, it is possible that the donation of one pint of blood could potentially save three lives. That’s the kind of arithmetic we can all support.

Donating blood takes just a few minutes out of the day and is a relatively easy process, done by trained professionals who do this regularly, making it easier for those who give.

While you may give a pint of your blood, that is literally all you lose in the process – and the gains are so much greater in terms of lives saved and improved.

Blood donors do not have to give up a day of work. Lost fluids are replenished in two to three days and red cells completely regenerated within three months – when it’s possible to donate again.

The rewards of blood donation are immeasurable. The good feeling of knowing that you have possibly saved a life – or several – or at least helped someone return to full health is unmatched.

The blood donation process also gives you a chance to get what amounts to a mini-health checkup, as doctors at the donor site will check your blood pressure, temperature, pulse and blood iron levels to ensure that you are healthy enough to give blood.

It is estimated that 37 percent of the population is eligible to give blood, but fewer than one in ten people give blood at least annually – a number that should be much higher.

Blood donor opportunities are available regularly, including one run by the Blood Center of Wisconsin next Monday afternoon at Redeemer Lutheran Church here in Plymouth. They are here on a regular basis and the Red Cross also holds periodic blood drives in Plymouth and elsewhere in the county.

Announcements of those blood donation opportunities appear regularly in The Review, so watch for them. It gives you a chance to be a hero without threat or danger.

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