On the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 25, the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community from noon-6pm.
“Five million people will require blood transfusions this year,” said Michael Holohan, director of ministries at Hot Metal. “This blood drive is an opportunity to give thanks for our own good health by giving them the gift of life.”
A single pint of donated blood can save three lives. But while 38 percent of Americans are eligible to donate blood, less than five percent actually donate each year. The most common reasons for not donating are “never thought about it” and “don't like needles.” Most donors say they give because they “want to help others.”
There are a wide variety of situations in which people need blood transfusions to survive, whether in the short-term following an emergency or during long-term care for a medical condition. For example, the victim of a car accident can require up to 100 pints of blood while a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy may require daily blood transfusions throughout the treatment. About 80,000 Americans are affected by sickle cell disease and will require frequent transfusions throughout their lives.
The urgency is increased by the shelf-life of blood. There are four transfusable components of whole blood: red blood cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. Red blood cells must be used within 42 days and platelets within five days. Plasma and cryoprecipitate can be frozen and stored for up to one year. Because blood components expire, the supply must be constantly refreshed by donors.
The donation process consists of four easy steps: registration, a confidential review of medical history followed by a mini-physical, donation, and refreshments - which will include freshly baked treats. The actual donation takes about ten minutes.
Those who want to schedule an appointment in advance are encouraged to call 412-481-4010 or register online at www.hotmetalbridge. com, but walk-in donations will be gladly accepted as well.
The Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community is at the corner of 27th and Jane streets in South Side.