by: Rachel Heath, UP Health System | Regional Blood Center
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. And seasonal obstacles like busy holiday schedules, blood drives canceled due to inclement winter weather, and illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 sidelining potential donors can hamper efforts to maintain a healthy blood supply. That’s why, since 1970, January has been designated as National Blood Donor Month – a month dedicated to shining a spotlight on the generosity of those who give their blood to save the lives of others, while also raising awareness of the continued need for donations.
“Donating blood is one of the easiest and most effective ways that you can have a personal and direct impact on the health of our community,” said Rachel Heath, Coordinator of Blood Collections for the UP Regional Blood Center. “Most people don’t realize that a one-time donation can save the lives of up to three people. That’s significant.”
The UP Regional Blood Center, a service of UP Health System – Marquette, hosts blood drives throughout the Upper Peninsula and has several events scheduled in January. Or you can always stop by one of the UP Regional Blood Center locations in Marquette, Escanaba, Hancock, Sault Ste. Marie, or Iron Mountain. To donate, individuals must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and be in generally good health.
Donating is an easy, four-step process that includes registration, medical history and a mini-physical, the actual donation process, and a post-donation refreshment. The brief mini-physical checks temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin to ensure the safety of the donor’s blood. The actual blood donation usually takes less than 12 minutes.
Learn More Online Donors can find information about the U.P. Regional Blood Center online at www.mgh.org/blood. At this page, you will find dates, times, and locations for upcoming blood drives throughout the Upper Peninsula as well as U.P. Regional Blood Center donation center hours of operation and locations.
“Despite efforts to raise awareness and make donating blood easier and more convenient, less than 10% of the eligible population actually donate blood,” said Heath. “So, as you plan out your resolutions for the coming year, consider making a little room in your January schedule for a blood donation. There’s no better way to kick off 2021 than by helping to save lives.”
If you are interested in giving blood, please contact the UP Regional Blood Center at 1-800-491-4483 (GIVE).
Know Before You Go
Donating blood is a safe process. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded.
Donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components (red cells, plasma, or platelets).
Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma, and platelets. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation – some in a matter of hours and others in a matter of weeks.
All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.
All blood donations made through the Upper Peninsula Regional Blood Center are kept here in the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula Regional Blood Center is the sole provider to 13 Upper Peninsula Hospitals. When you donate with them you are keeping your blood donation local. Learn more online at https://www.mgh.org/our-services/regional-blood-donation.