On a recent visit to donate blood to the local Central California Blood Center, I saw a friend who I had not seen since I had been involved with Chamber of Commerce community activities. Carmella Lamb is the Supervisor for the Central California Blood Center. We had a chance to visit. Darla Silvera, the South Valley Donor Recruiter, joined us in Carmella’s office to discuss our mini-reunion, as well as, enlighten me on what has been happening with area blood supplies. My jaw dropped. I offered to publish this article to share with readers in the region.
First of all, blood supplies in Central California (and statewide) have been critical for all the time I can remember. As of late, matters have become much worse. Notwithstanding, donations are down. This is not new. However, for some societal reasons, the donation rate has continued to decline. This occurrence is exacerbated by a continually growing population. More reasons for this emergency follows.
During the flu season in winter months, donors who are ill cannot donate until they are well. Of course, anyone who is sick during the year must wait until the cold or other infirmity has passed. What makes this year of blood donations fall even further is this year’s flu outbreak is worse than usual.
Then came the Zika virus problem this past year. Although, the virus has been reported in many areas of the United States, none had been found in this region, at the time of our discussion. Yet, the CDC required all the blood centers to test the blood supply, nationally. Unfortunately, this caused much of the existing blood in storage to be destroyed in the testing process. This has obviously reduced existing supplies available to area hospitals and medical centers even further.
Because of these recent events, blood supplies have been imported from other areas of the United States at great cost to cover life-threatening emergencies.
The result is the real possibility of people in life-endangered situations not being able to receive necessary blood in the proper type. In sum, some may die because they do not receive infusion quickly enough. Synthetic research and applications are still in infancy and is not a viable option for now.
I cannot emphasize enough how critical this emergency is. Everyone who can donate, who wishes and chooses to do so is more appreciated now, than ever. I have made a point of donating every two months because my eyes have been opened wide. Technically, one, on average can donate once every 56 days.
For those who are new to the concept of donating blood, here is a brief overview of the procedure. There is a short screening of the donor where blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, and iron levels are measured. There is also a brief questionnaire to determine if the donor may have traveled to affected areas, especially overseas. Surprising as it may seem to some, most donors of all persuasions and locales do provide disease-free blood, so don’t be shy if you think your life-style may not fit. This is professionally considered and all are well received. Oh, and do not forget that you get to rest and relax with goodies like fruit drinks, pastries, and other delectable delights. For those on a more strict schedule, the entire time from start to finish may take no more than thirty minutes. For someone like me who loves people and likes to socialize, it could take an hour or more, wink, wink.
In conclusion, all blood types are in critical need, at this time. Please help if you can or wish.
Just remember this: Your choice now to donate blood may very well result is saving someone else’s life! I, for one, want to live on knowing I did something to help others in the human condition.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article. It is someone’s blessing, somewhere, and you can help.