By: Bridget Connell
Blood drives are everywhere these days and they all have one purpose in mind – saving people’s lives. One pint of blood can help save three people’s lives, according to the American Red Cross. Adults, teens, and children all benefit from the blood that people donate at Blood Banks and Drives. Over 500 people are needed to donate a day in order for the collection to be truly effective.
The Blood Drive here at Seton – La Salle has taken place for over eight years, benefiting many local lives along the way. One of these local lives is Stefani Sobol-Pastor, a religion teacher here at our school. She requires blood transfusions, due to the fact that her body is unable to create enough lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that defend against illnesses. The upcoming Blood Drive is done in support of her, and will take place in the school gym on November 3rd. Mrs. Pastor explained that the main goal of having this annual blood drive is to raise awareness in our community.
There are many other reasons why one might require blood transfusions on a regular basis, such as injuries, surgeries, cancer, anemia, blood disorders, and many others. It’s impossible to know just who your blood donation is helping, but just knowing that you are doing something small to make a big difference can be empowering, It can even make you feel like a hero, or encourage you to do other good in the world.
There are countless stories about how giving blood has saved people’s lives and they can be found on the Central Blood Bank’s website, as well as other sources. They explain how their situations were close to hopeless or worried that their surgery or transfusion would go all wrong, but, thanks to all the blood donations, so many people were saved.
Of course, not everyone is eligible to give blood. There are certain requirements to ensure that the blood isn’t contaminated. Approximately only three percent of the population in Pittsburgh is able to donate their blood. It’s required that you are at least seventeen years old, sixteen with parental permission, and one hundred and ten pounds, or more. There are other requirements if you are donating double red blood cells, platelets, or plasma, but it is the same for the age.
You cannot donate whole blood if it’s been less than fifty-six days since your last donation. If you wish to donate double red blood cells, you must wait one hundred and twelve days, twenty-nine for donating plasma, and seven days between platelet donations. You also cannot donate platelets more than twenty-four times a year. Other health restrictions can be found on the Central Blood bank’s website.
If you have been traveling outside the U.S. in the past three years, there is also the risk that you might transfer blood that has been in contact with malaria. If you were in the U.K. for three or more months between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996, then you cannot donate blood, due to the risk of “Mad Cow” Disease. Certain military personnel also cannot donate blood if they have spent more than six months in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Germany from 1980 through 1990 and Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Italy, or Greece from 1980 through 1996.
Giving blood, the liquid of life, is a great thing to do, if you are able. Some of us are too scared to give blood, but there’s always other ways to help, such as donating money to help fund the organizations. Blood is precious and, as far as we know, it can never be replaced.