Washington Heights Community Blood Drive

 In Feature

By Eric Anderson

On Saturday, November 28th, Mount Olive Lutheran Church & Christian Day School hosted the 1st annual Washington Heights Community Blood Drive. For the past 15 years, the neighborhood church has hosted the Harold Radewahn Blood Drive in early June. With this great track record, Versiti Blood Center, which supplies blood to all the hospitals in Southeastern Wisconsin, asked them to help. The goal is to hold these events quarterly to meet the demand.

Summertime and holidays are normally a low supply time, but in these uncertain times of COVID, supplies have been dangerously low. Beth Milam and Jill Royten explained, “The need for blood (and plasma from recovered COVID victims) is so huge!” They put this pop-up drive together in a very short amount of time. “With the help of 8 small signs posted around the neighborhood, we got 39 donors, one short of our goal of 40. Our Washington Heights neighborhood is so awesome!”

The ladies also offered some interesting facts. Do you know what the number one reason for not donating blood is? “No one asked me, or I didn’t know about it.” The next biggest excuse is “I’m too busy.” The actual time it takes to give a pint of blood is 7–10 minutes. With a quick health exam, and answering a brief health survey, the whole process can be completed in less than a half hour. The #1 reason why people say give blood is that they “want to help others.”

Not everyone can donate blood. Because of age, height/weight minimums, past illnesses, and other health issues, only about 37% of the US population is eligible to donate blood. Out of that, only 3–4% donate each year. One donation can save up to 3 lives! If just 1% more of Americans would give blood, shortages would disappear for the foreseeable future.

Whole blood can be donated every 56 days, or 8 weeks. Plasma, to help burn patients and now COVID patients, can be donated every 28 days. Platelets, most needed for cancer, transplant, trauma, and open-heart surgery patients, can be given every 14 days! Giving blood is a healthy thing to do, especially for men. It can reduce the risk of cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, and damage to the liver and pancreas.

The bottom line is, modern medicine and science cannot create a substitute for blood. It must come from another human being. Please, give the gift of life this holiday season! Make it a habit. Go to Versiti.org or call (877)232-4376 (BE A HERO).

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