ORLANDO, Fla. – As the U.S. faces a blood shortage, National Donor Day on Monday will seek to raise awareness of the importance of donating.
In January, the American Red Cross declared the first-ever national blood crisis, with the country experiencing a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.
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There are multiple locations where you can donate blood in Orlando. Additionally, the Big Red Bus, OneBlood’s mobile donation center, can often be found at different locations across the city.
However, blood is not the only “point of life” that National Donor Day advocates for.
ORGAN AND TISSUE TRANSPLANTS
There are currently more than 100,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list, with more than half of them belonging to a minority group, according to the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration. Seventeen people die each day waiting for an organ transplant, and every 9 minutes a new person is added to the waiting list, the administration said.
Anyone over the age of 18 can sign up to become an organ donor, with some states allowing people 15-17 years old to join the registry. Regarding blood donation, Red Cross requires potential donors to be at least 17 years old (16 with parental consent in certain states), weigh at least 110 pounds and be in “generally good health.”
Platelets are cells in your blood that form clots and stop bleeding, serving as a vital element of cancer treatments, organ transplants and other surgical procedures.
The platelet donation process takes about two-and-a-half to three hours and can be done every seven days up to 24 times in a year. In the process, the platelets are extracted and the rest of the blood is returned to the donor.
Platelets can only be donated in select American Red Cross Donation Centers and an appointment is required.
BONE MARROW DONATION
This is a method of collecting blood-forming cells for bone marrow transplants. The process consists of withdrawing liquid marrow from both sides of a donor’s pelvic bone.
The HRSA’s donor registry currently contains approximately 23 million people, but this is far from perfect. According to Be The Match, only 8% of people who complete the testing will go on to donate due to the complexity of finding an antigen match between a potential donor and a patient.