Typically, less than five percent of eligible people donate blood. What that means, according to the American Red Cross, is that there is often an inadequate blood supply due to the lack of donations.
As a member of the New York State Senate Health Committee, I have met several times with representatives of the American Red Cross Blood Services, New York - Penn Region, about this issue. They have related to me stories of patients who have received a second lease on life because of blood transfusions. I have also heard of the many generous volunteers who selflessly give blood to help people they may never meet. After telling me of these success stories, the Red Cross representatives also share the concern of blood shortages and how these shortages are becoming more and more frequent.
Over the past several years, there has been a significant increase in the demand for blood due to advanced medical procedures requiring large amounts of blood and an aging population, and this is a trend that will continue to grow in the near future. Unfortunately, despite an increase in the demand for blood, there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of blood donations. As this country depends on a volunteer blood donor base, it is the responsibility of all of us -- not just five percent of the population -- to ensure that there is always an adequate, readily available supply of blood.
Our community is very generous. The majority of people I represent want to give back to their neighbors. With a tight economy and busy lives, many are finding it more difficult to do so. Volunteering to give blood is an ideal solution. It takes only one hour of your time, and in that one hour you can help to save up to three lives.
You can make a blood donation appointment, find out about upcoming blood drives, or receive more information about blood drive sponsorship by calling the American Red Cross at (800) GIVE LIFE or visiting the website www.donatebloodnow.org.