It is in the worst of times that we are at our best. Without hesitation, people across our nation lined up to give blood for people so senselessly harmed in Las Vegas.
It is the blood that was donated days ahead of the tragic events that was used in the trauma centers and emergency rooms in Las Vegas Sunday night and Monday. The donors who gave following the shooting at the country concert will help other patients once their gift of blood is tested, processed and distributed to hospitals, which generally takes at least 24 hours – and sometimes even longer.
We have seen an outpouring of love and support at our donor centers in the last couple days. Calls and messages have been flooding in with, “What can I do to help?”
As we stand ready to help Las Vegas, if and when it is needed, we need to have what they may need, and what is most needed here right now, which is O negative, A negative and B negative blood types. We also need, right now, donors to give platelets through apheresis or automated collection.
We are asking that donors of other blood types please schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets or plasma over the next days and weeks. We are also asking for you to Pledge to Give, which means that you pledge your donation, when it is needed the most.
After making your pledge, please tag the Central California Blood Center and use #pledgetogive to notify your friends and family via social media. You can make your pledges at www.donateblood.org/pledge.
Blood is as perishable as it is precious and we must collect only what we believe will be used, here at home and across the nation. We must be good stewards of this very precious gift. Whole blood is good for 42 days, plasma longer and platelets only five days. We must collect what’s needed – no more and no less.
Now we turn to the everyday crises of patients who depend upon donated blood for surgery and other medical therapies.
We ask, in the wake of Las Vegas, what will it take to get people to give blood for the everyday crises we face in cities and towns in the Central Valley for complications during childbirth, or in surgery or because the medical fight against cancer means transfusions of red cells and platelets are desperately needed?
What do we do to assure that scheduled surgeries can go forward because blood and platelets and plasma are available and ready to be transfused? And what needs to happen to make certain when a child with leukemia or cancer, or someone seriously burned or horribly injured in a vehicle accident or on a sports field has blood and blood components needed to survive?
Our reality is that we must see 300 or so donors every day. As regulations increase to improve blood safety we must work harder and smarter to make donation – whole blood, plasma and platelets – a way of life that gives life. We must make donation a healthy habit, and we must prepare, every day, for every crisis, great and small.
There is always a need. Please give blood. Together, we make a difference.
Leslie Botos is director of community relations and development for the Central California Blood Center. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 389-5405.