With our annual OGAWNY blood drive coming up, it’s time to talk a bit about the importance of giving blood and what you can do personally. First off, did you know roughly every two seconds, someone in the world needs blood? In America alone, around 4.5 million people will need a blood transfusion this year. As there is no artificial substitute for blood, donations are always needed.
Blood can be broken down into four components: red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma, and platelets, each of which has different functions.
Red blood cells: Red blood cells contain hemoglobin and are integral in the transfer of oxygen to the body and carbon dioxide to the lungs. Blood transfusions to replace heavy blood loss are composed of red blood cells.
White blood cells: White blood cells fight infection; transfusions of this type are often given to patients for whom antibiotics are not working.
Plasma: Plasma is the fluid that carries blood cells and other components in the blood. It contains proteins and other various substances.
Platelets: Platelets help with blood clotting and are often used to help those with leukemia and other cancers.
Now that you know a bit about what you can donate, let’s get into who can donate. First off, you must be in good health to be eligible. Those who have the flu, a cold, or are otherwise sick are ineligible. A more comprehensive list of disqualifications can be found on the untys.org website.
For whole blood and platelet donations, donors must be at least 17 years of age, although 16 year-olds will be eligible with a signed parental consent form. There is no max age limit. Donors must weigh at least 110 lbs and there is no minimum height requirement.
For double red cell donations, donors must be at least 17 years of age. Males must be at least 5’1″ and 130 lbs or more and females must be at least 5’5″ and 150 lbs or more.
Organs and tissues can be donated to save lives as well. A living donor can give a kidney, a portion of the liver, a portion of the intestines, a section of the pancreas, and a lung; deceased donors can give both kidneys, a full liver, a heart, intestines, a pancreas, and both lungs. Changing your donor status is easy and can be done at any time. If you’re considering becoming an organ donor but are unsure of whether or not you would qualify, don’t count yourself out. There is no age limit for organ donors, and your donor status will be evaluated either at the time of donation or time of death.
Recent mothers who underwent caesarian sections are eligible to donate placental tissue. Donated placentas can help treat burns, dental problems, soft tissue damage, and scar tissue. Each single birth tissue donated allows production of between 12 and 100 different grafts, which means that a single donation can help up to 100 people.
If you want to help, OGAWNY is hosting a blood drive on August 27, 2019. The drive will be at the OBGYN Associates of WNY Donate Life Express Bus at 3050 Orchard Park Road in West Seneca, New York. Whole blood donations are available in 15-minute increments from 12 noon to 5:45 pm. Double red blood cell donations are available in 1-hour increments from noon to 5 pm. As of January 2019, all donors are automatically enrolled in our rewards program. Each donation earns donors points and the first donation reward bonus points. All participants in our annual blood drive will be entered into a raffle to win a pair of Buffalo Sabres/Buffalo Bills tickets.
For more information or to sign up to donate, please visit our website at https://www.unytsblooddonor.org/index.cfm?group=op&expand=15963&zc=14224&oti=2j