Donating blood is something that we hear about often, whether it be on TV, ads, or friends and family.
I think donating blood gets overlooked a lot. Until I was in high school, I always seemed to think, “Why should I donate blood? No one I know needs any.” Then I realized it didn’t matter if I knew them or not. I wanted to do something that could impact or possibly even save someone’s life, even if I didn’t know them.
Fast forward three years, and I have twin daughters who desperately need blood transfusions, which for Kendall wound up being a life saving procedure, of the many she had done. I am so grateful for the blood that she received. If it weren’t for the transfusions, I am not sure my daughter would have survived.
What most people don’t think about when donating blood is how it is used. When I donated in the past, I used to think of saving a life, an adult life. It never even crossed my mind that a baby may need that blood as well. Now that I have been in this situation, it is neat to see it in perspective of saving a baby.
A baby requires less blood in a transfusion, depending on their weight. Preemies need transfusions for all different reasons, the most common being because of anemia. Anemia can cause many different issues like apnea and bradycardia. Transfusions are given to resolve these issues and hopefully get the child’s red blood cell count back to normal or close to normal.
Roughly one pint is given during a donation. The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his/her body. Each pint donated could save up to three lives, depending on age and need.1
Donating blood is something that every NICU parent should consider. If your blood can’t be used for your own child, it could be used for someone else’s. I am not sure about you, but I would feel amazing if I saved the life of a preemie child with blood I donated.
Here are some basic facts on donation from the Red Cross:
- Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
- Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.
- Nearly 7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily in the U.S.
- Nearly 21 million blood components are transfused each year in the U.S.
- The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
- The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs.
Each year more blood is needed than given. Donating blood is something Please get out there and donate if you can, and hopefully your donation will save a life.
To find out more about donating blood please check the red cross website for more details HERE.
1. “Blood Facts and Statistics.” American Red Cross, www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-facts-and-statistics.