January is National Blood Donor Month

by pharmacy on January 9, 2013

January is National Blood Donor Month

The winter months are often the most difficult for patients suffering from all kinds of illnesses.  The month of January in particular is a critical time for blood donation as a significant turnout reduction can put the national inventory in jeopardy, and many donors are discouraged from making their normal contributions by weather or other factors.  To help improve the supply of life-giving blood during these difficult times, the month of January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month (NBDM) in order to encourage donors to give or pledge to give blood.

According to the Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals (ADRP), approximately 39,000 units of blood are required in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities across the United States each day for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims.  It is estimated that 1 out of every 7 people entering a hospital will require blood during the course of their treatment.  Individuals with serious accident-related injuries can require 50 pints or more over the course of their recovery and severe burn victims could require more than 20 pints.  These staggering totals add up to an annual need of over 30 million pints of blood components in the United States alone each year, and the only source of those components is blood donated by human beings.

A single pint of donated blood can be separated into three components and stored for varying lengths of time:  red blood cells, platelets, and blood plasma, all of which are useful to patients with a variety of needs.  As a result of this fact, each pint donated can help save the lives of three people.  Donors as young as 17 are eligible to donate (or even younger in some states with parental permission) so long as they weigh at least 110 pounds and meet other basic donor health requirements.  Pharmacies and other medical centers are encouraged to participate in this event by setting up blood drives themselves or sponsoring other local drives.  Details on blood drives in your area can be found on the American Red Cross website or via organizations such as Lifeshare.org.

In support of the event, the ADRP is looking to recognize donors who contribute during this time and is accepting documents, PDFs, and even video submissions to highlight donors who you or your organization would like to see recognized for their commitment to this worthy cause.  In support of this initiative, the ADRP has made promotional materials such as flyers, pens, mailing templates, and stationery available on their website to assist others in getting the word out about this event and also to help facilitate the acknowledgement of donors.

Does your pharmacy host, sponsor, or help spread the word about local blood drives? What methods work best for you?

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