The Difference is YOU: The Blood Connection Urges Community to Add Donating Blood to New Year’s Resolutions in 2023
January is National Blood Donor Month
THE CAROLINAS AND GEORGIA (January 2, 2023) Right now, a team of doctors is scrubbing in for a surgery while a patient waits for a procedure that they hope will save their life; blood bags are prepared and ready. In a different hospital, a team of nurses is giving a trauma victim a lifesaving blood transfusion. Several floors away, a cancer patient is receiving a platelet transfusion after chemotherapy. Those patients, and thousands of others, can hope and plan for the new year because blood products were available.
As we enter 2023, many are looking at a piece of paper, writing down their new year’s resolutions and goals: ‘read ten books…get outside more often…go to the gym.’ The Blood Connection (TBC), the non-profit community blood center, is encouraging people to add one more thing to that list: save a life with TBC. It may sound daunting. It may sound unachievable. But with just one hour and one blood donation, three lives can be saved in this community. The difference between a joyous and tragic new year for many local families is community blood donors.
“The new year brings hope and new opportunities. Many local hospital patients wouldn’t have that hope and opportunity, without lifesaving blood products,” said Delisa English, President and CEO of The Blood Connection. “Giving blood gives local hospital patients hope for successful treatments and more time with their families. You can really make the difference in 2023 for our neighbors in need.”
Blood products are used every minute for a wide range of treatments. Cancer patients use 25 percent of all blood donations. Blood transfusions are needed in one out of every 83 newborn deliveries in America today, a rate that has increased by more than 50 percent between 2006 and 2015. Everyone likely knows someone who has needed or will need blood, but despite that, most of the U.S. population does not donate blood. While 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood, only 3% or roughly 7 million people, are holding up the nation’s blood supply, as reports of blood shortages become more and more frequent.
In addition, older Americans are the most frequent blood donors. The rate of donations from those 65 and older increased by 15 percent between 2017 and 2019. However, during that same time period, the percentage of younger blood donors – those between the ages of 16 and 24 years old – decreased by double digits.
“That trajectory is unsustainable,” said English. “The answer is looking many of us in the mirror: every eligible donor has the ability, and dare we say responsibility, to create a more reliable and available blood supply for our community.”
TBC operates 14 physical donation centers, and more than 50 mobile units, across the Carolinas and Georgia, to make blood donation convenient for community members. With the community’s help, TBC can ensure all hospitals, and their patients, have the lifesaving blood products needed for any situation.
“We encourage people to add saving lives to their list of resolutions in 2023,” said English. “And what better way to kick off the new year than by donating during National Blood Donor Month. We hope community members will join us in solidifying the blood supply by donating blood for the first time, donating more often, or by hosting a blood drive with TBC.”
More than 50 years ago, on December 31, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation designating January as National Blood Donor Month – a move designed to honor voluntary blood donors and to encourage more people to give blood at a time when blood donations are critically needed. Following the holidays, blood donor turnout has historically dropped, as people return from holiday travel, get busy with work, and often battle seasonal illnesses. The world looks vastly different in 2023 than it did when the proclamation was signed in 1969, but the need for blood, and for blood donors, has not changed: if anything, it has only increased.
TBC is urging community members to make blood donation a priority in 2023 – because, simply put: lives depend on it. To make an appointment to save lives this month, go to thebloodconnection.org/donate.