Keep giving the gift of life

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2019

About the same time that most folks are thinking of heading to the beach or to the mountains for their summer vacations, the American Red Cross begins worrying about how it will provide the blood needed for those who have accidents along the way.

Each year, an annual and seasonal decline in blood and platelet donations takes place during the summer, according to Red Cross officials. With two of the organization’s largest donor groups — high school and college students — out of school for the summer, the Red Cross struggles each year with a drop in its stock of blood and blood products. Students account for up to 20 percent of the Red Cross’ donated blood in a year, so losing those donations makes for a big hole during the summer.

At the same time, summer can bring an increase in the number of traffic accidents and other trauma situations that result in emergency surgery and large transfusions of blood. Red Cross officials say they rely on volunteer donors for the 15,000 blood donations needed every day to support patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers nationwide.

With premature babies, trauma patients, cancer sufferers and routine surgery requiring it, America’s need for blood never stops. A trauma patient can need as much as 100 pints, and the average transfusion is about three pints. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood.

In the coming weeks, there are a couple of blood drives taking place locally, one on Thursday, July 18, in Courtland Baptist Church from 2:30 to 7 p.m., and another on Tuesday, July 30, in the Walters Ruritan Club from 3 to 7 p.m. If you can’t make either of these blood drives, there are plenty happening in neighboring localities, and more may be added throughout the summer. For more information about other drives, as well as advice about giving blood, visit