Consider giving blood this holiday season

Published 6:05 pm Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This Friday, people living in the Dowagiac area will have the chance to give a special gift — one that could someday save the life of another.

The American Red Cross returns to the Grand Old City from noon to 5 p.m. that day, hosting their biannual Dowagiac blood drive at the Holy Maternity of Mary Church on Front Street. Once again sponsored by members of the Knights of Columbus Dowagiac Council 2113 and the Dowagiac Masonic Lodge, the drive will allow locals to donate a pint of blood to the national relief organization, with collected blood stored for eventual distribution to hospitals across the country.

With the holiday season already bringing out the charitable side in many denizens of the greater Dowagiac area, we can think of no better gift that someone can give to another than the gift of life.

And that’s truly what blood is — life.

Used for blood transfusions and other medical operations, a usable pack of blood can mean the difference between life and death for patients in desperate need of plasma.

Here are some facts about the need for blood, listed on the Red Cross’ website:

• Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

• More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.

• The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.

• The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O.

• The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.

• Sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives.

• More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

• A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

In spite of its importance, there’s still plenty of eligible blood being left on the proverbial table. According to the Red Cross, of the estimated 38 percent of Americans eligible to donate blood, only 10 percent of them actually do.

Make no mistake — the blood donation process certainly isn’t for everyone. Be it due to preexisting medical conditions or fear of needles, many have legitimate reasons for not taking part in blood drives.

For those people that can take part though, we urge them to do so, be it on Friday or the next occasion Red Cross hosts a drive in the area. Though the process can take up more than an hour, it’s time that is definitely well spent.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.