By organizing a blood drive with just 10 people, you can save up to 30 lives. That's because each unit of donated blood can be divided for at least three life-saving purposes:
- Red blood cells are used for surgery, kidney dialysis, and to treat anemia.
- Plasma is used to treat burn victims and patients in shock.
- Platelets are used for surgery, and to treat leukemia, as well as other forms of cancer.
Note: Another component of blood, cryoprecipitate, can be used as a clotting protein for hemophiliacs.
While about 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, only 5 percent of eligible people across the nation actually do.
When asked, the #1 reason for not giving blood is because "no one asked me." So, please ask, by organizing a blood drive.
Unless you're a multi-millionaire or a medical professional, organizing a blood donation drive is the easiest way for you to save the most lives, every 8 weeks.
I Did This!
- Organize a blood drive at your office, apartment building, or place of worship. The American Red Cross shows you how to sponsor a blood drive and provides a blood drive planning checklist, blood donor recruitment videos, and a blood donation fact sheet that you can print out or e-mail to help generate interest in your blood drive.
- Organize a blood drive at a local high school or college. Students may start donating blood at age 17 (or as young as 16 in some states). Getting young people involved in blood donation from an early age can help make them blood donors for life. Enlist the help of student government officials or service club members to recruit classmates, teachers, support staff, and parents to donate blood. America's Blood Centers offers information on how to organize a blood drive at a school and provides free promotional material aimed at teenagers.
- Recruit a group of friends, neighbors, or co-workers to regularly visit a local blood donation center together. By being committed to a group, blood donors are less likely to "chicken out" or to forget to make a blood donation. Visit America's Blood Centers to find a convenient location by typing in your zip code. Check with your local blood center to confirm that they can handle your group at your preferred appointment time. Send reminder notices to your group the week before each scheduled donation as well as on the actual day. Set up your own e-mail reminders to keep track of your group's blood donation schedule. (You can donate blood every days.)