Imagine a happy healthy teen. He does well in school and is easy to get along with. Imagine he is diagnosed with leukemia and requires daily platelet and blood transfusions just to stay alive. Now, imagine he has a rare blood type that requires him to be moved to a larger hospital for treatment. This is just another thing for him and his family to worry about. Similar stories happen every day in the United States. It is estimated that every three seconds a patient in the U. S needs a blood transfusion. Donated blood saves 4. 5 million lives in America each year. Yet only 5% of the eligible U.Â S population donates blood in any given year. This is a sad fact considering healthy donors are the only source of blood. Since it can not be made or harvested, there is no substitute. The blood supply in the US is consistently low, and the demand for it increases each year. Everyone in good health should donate blood at least once a year. There are many reasons why people should donate. First you should know that it is a safe and healthy thing to do. Not only do you get a free mini physical, including blood pressure check, heart rate, temperature and iron levels, but it is the fastest way to lose a pound! Also, disasters like car accidents, fires, and other trauma cases happen every day and these patients need blood, and rarely do they need only one pint. A bleeding trauma victim can run through 100 units of blood in no time. And because of our growing and aging population, as well as the huge expansion of health care facilities, our blood usage is growing at three times the national rate, and the usage of it outpaces donor collections. With it estimated that up to 85% of us will need blood in our life time it is unlikely that the 5% donating now can sustain the rest. Many people who do not donate give the same reasons. Number one is they do not like needles or are afraid to do so. Nearly everyone feels that way at first. However, most donors will tell you that you feel only a slight initial pinch, and 7-10 minutes later, you are finished. The second is that they did not know or were never asked to donate. More than 38,000 donations are needed every day in communities across the U. S. So it is important to spread the word. Another common excuse is fear of diseases. It is good to know that it is not possible to get AIDS by donating blood to the American Red Cross. A new sterile needle is used for each donor and discarded afterwards. So as you can see, it is safe, simple and most importantly it can save someone's life. If you do not know what is required of you, it is very simple. Anyone who is at least 17 years of age, weighs at least 110 pounds, and is in good health, can donate. The donation process, from the time you arrive until the time to you leave, is only about an hour. Less than one pint is taken during a donation and it is replaced naturally by the body within 24 hours. If you take the time to make one donation, you will wonder why you ever hesitated. If you are not convinced, image again the teen, fighting for his life. Now give him a face, a name; he is your cousin, your brother, your best friend. It could even be you. My question to you is why not? Blood donors are true heroes. In fact, your one blood donation will be broken down into several components, enabling you, with just one donation, to save up to three lives. If you know someone who donates blood regularly, I urge you to go with them next time, or even on your own, and do the same.
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