Blood. We tend to take it for granted, until we need it. What you may not realize is that a small-time commitment can change someone's life, maybe even your own.
Blood donations plummeted to historic lows during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first months alone, thousands of U.S. blood drives were canceled and a study analyzing the world’s blood supply showed that out of 180 countries, 107 had insufficient blood to meet their need.
At Abbott, we believe that donating blood puts the power of saving lives and better health into the hands of people around the world. Each blood donation can save up to three lives. Here are three reasons to donate now:
The Need for Blood Never Takes a Vacation
Each summer, blood donation centers experience low blood supplies. This seasonal decline is due to a number of reasons. Regular donors become busy with summer activities and vacations. With high school and colleges on break, those blood drives don't take place. At the same time, the need for blood remains constant with increased roadway and travel-related accidents, particularly during high travel holiday weekends.
Why is there a constant need for blood? Blood is not just used for emergencies, but also for long-term treatments. The blood used for emergencies and treatments needs to be on the shelf beforehand. Also, certain blood components have a short shelf life. For example, red blood cells last for up to 42 days and platelets last for five days.
So whether you're planning for the summer or a family vacation, consider adding 'donate blood' to your to do list. It only takes a little over an hour to donate blood, less time than it does to watch a movie.
You Can be a Hero (No Superpowers Required)
Blood donors are always needed and you don't need a cape to be a hero. As part of medical treatment, patients may receive a pint of whole blood or just specific components of blood needed to treat their particular condition. As a result, one blood donation can help save up to three lives.
Despite the constant need for donated blood, only a fraction of people eligible to donate blood actually does so.
"There is no alternative when someone is in need of blood – people have to donate it," said Dr. Jason Kang, Global Medical Director of Transfusion Medicine for Abbott. "In the face of this historic blood shortage, people need to remember that they are literally saving up to three lives – somebody’s mother, brother, friend – every time they donate. That’s powerful, and we hope people make blood donation a part of their summertime routine this year."
Want to learn more about blood donation? Check out BeThe1Donor.com.
A version of this story was originally published on June 14, 2021