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Help Someone in Their Time of Crisis: Donate a Pint of Life


June 14th is World Blood Donor Day

Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life.

Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. Accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and patients receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer, or sickle cell disease may all require blood to save their lives. Countries all over the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day to raise awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety, and availability of blood and blood products for those in need.

The Red Cross needs to collect more than 13,000 donations every day to keep the blood supply ready and available to meet the needs of approximately 2,600 hospitals, clinics, and cancer centers across the country.

Our country’s medical system could not survive without access to blood donations. That blood supply can only come from regular donations from voluntary, unpaid donors…people just like you.

Who Can Donate Blood?

To donate, volunteers just need be healthy, hydrated, eat within a couple of hours, weigh at least 110 pounds, and bring a picture ID. Donors must be seventeen years of age or older (or sixteen with parental consent).

Factors that could make volunteers ineligible to donate include being ill, being underweight, or taking certain medications, among other factors. These eligibility requirements are observed for the safety of the blood donor and recipient.

What to Expect

Before heading in for a donation, make sure to eat a solid meal and hydrate well. Don’t take any blood-thinning medications like ibuprofen.

  • Registration: You will sign in, show your ID, and be asked to read required information.
  • Health history and mini-physical: Answer questions online or in a private interview and receive a general health check.
  • Donation: You’ll be seated comfortably while a pint of blood is drawn. The actual donation only takes 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Refreshment and recovery: After donating, you can enjoy a snack and a drink for 10 to 15 minutes before resuming your day. The entire donation process takes about an hour.
  • Testing: Your blood is tested and sent to a patient in need.

Where Can You Donate

The process of donating blood, which includes answering questions asked by medical professionals, can take up to one hour. You may always donate through the American Red Cross which recommends searching for a blood drive and making an appointment through their website.

Upcoming blood drives in New Bern include:

  • Thursday, June 14 at Neuse River Region Association of Realtors (NRRAR) Training Room, 1433 S. Glenburnie Road, 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
  • Friday, June 15 at Centenary United Methodist Church, 309 Neuse Street, 12:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
  • Monday, June 18 at Township 6 Fire Department, 109 Carolina Pines Boulevard, 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 21 at Carolina Colours, 3300 Waterscape Way, 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

For additional blood drive dates and locations, click here.

Surprising Benefits of Blood Donation

Perhaps you’re considering donation, but are unsure of the effect it will have on your body. Or maybe you’ve done it before and are curious about how it might impact your body if you donate regularly. The advantages are quite surprising:

Giving blood can reveal potential health problems: While it’s not the same thing as a visit to your doctor, donating blood can be another way to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health. You’ll receive a mini-physical prior to the blood draw, in which someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin, and more.  This can sometimes shed light on issues you didn’t even know existed.

Giving blood can reduce harmful iron stores: One in every 200 people in the U.S. is affected by a condition called hemochromatosis and most don’t know it. The disease causes an iron overload and is labeled as the most common genetic disease among Caucasians by the Mayo Clinic. The CDC says the removal of red blood cells by donation is the preferred treatment for patients with excess iron in their blood.

Giving blood may lower your risk of suffering a heart attack: Donating blood at least once a year could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88%, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology. This relates to the iron issue again–high levels of iron in the blood constrict your blood vessels and create an increased risk for heart attack. Depleting those extra iron deposits by donating blood gives your vessels more room to operate.

Giving blood may reduce your risk of developing cancer: Research supports a reduced risk of cancer for blood donors with hemochromatosis. The process of drawing blood was found to be an iron-reduction method associated with lower cancer risk and mortality, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute. The study focused on patients affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a common circulatory problem. PAD patients who regularly donated blood had a lower risk of developing cancer than those who did not.

Giving blood can help your liver stay healthy: Another danger of iron overload is the health of your liver. Research has linked too much iron with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), Hepatitis C, and other liver diseases and infections. Though there are many other factors involved in these problems, donating blood can help relieve some of those iron stores and avoid extra issues in your liver.

Giving blood can help your mental state: While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably in the psychological realm. Donating blood means that someone (or many people) somewhere will be getting the help they desperately need.

It’s important the Red Cross has a sufficient blood supply on hand to meet patient needs and be prepared for emergencies of all types. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed, and made available for patients, so it’s the blood products already on the shelves that help save lives in an emergency situation. Make your plans to donate now!

If you have questions about any healthcare issue, contact the primary care providers at Coastal Carolina Health Care by calling (252) 633-4111 or visiting www.cchchealthcare.com.

(Sources: World Health Organization; American Red Cross; Mayo Clinic; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Journal of Epidemiology; National Cancer Institute; and Rasmussen College.)