This year, the American Red Cross is celebrating 50 years of January officially being recognized as National Blood Donor Month.
Every year since 1970, donors have been encouraged to roll up their sleeves and participate in this month of lifesaving contributions.
January seems to be the ideal time to host National Blood Donor Month. Blood donations naturally dwindle down in the colder seasons, so the American Red Cross appreciates all the help they can get in raising awareness for blood donations.
“Busy schedules, holiday breaks from school, inclement weather and winter illnesses contribute to fewer blood and platelet donations,” states the official American Red Cross website. “This poses quite a challenge since the need for blood doesn’t take a holiday nor diminish because a snowstorm hits.”
So far, this winter season has been slower than ever due to COVID-19. The FDA asserts that the U.S. blood supply has been faced with “unprecedented challenges” and a dramatic reduction in donations for 2020. This has mostly been due to fear of the virus, social distancing, and the cancellation of public events, which includes blood drives.
According to their website, “the Red Cross needs to collect more than 13,000 donations every day to keep the blood supply ready and available to meet the needs of about 2,600 hospitals, clinics and cancer centers across the country.”
Donating blood can prove beneficial not only to others, but to yourself, as well. Labs examine blood and can inform the donor of any abnormalities or infectious diseases that may be present. Additionally, research conducted by The American Journal of Epidemiology found that on average, blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer from heart attacks.
Eligible donors can donate blood every eight weeks. Keep an eye out for local blood drives (especially during the winter) to determine when and where the best options are for you to donate blood. The process itself is minimally invasive and takes under twenty minutes.
This month, blood can be donated locally at the Sandhills Cycle Center and First Baptist Church in Pinehurst on January 21st, or at Southern Pines UMC on January 25th.
For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit www.redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-733-2767.