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Blood donations needed in Placer County

Summer shortage of eligible donors
By: Aurora Sain, Reporter
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BY THE NUMBERS

Cancer patients and burn victims require a lot of blood, 20 donations could help 1 burn victim.

50 donations could help the victim of a major car accident

Only three teaspoons of blood can save a baby’s life.

36,000 units of blood are needed daily in the U.S.

7,000 units of platelets and 10,000 units of plasma are needed daily

1 out of every 7 people in the hospital needs blood

With schools out for the summer and family vacations taking place, one venture is seeing a decline in visitors – blood donations.

Without blood drives at schools, it’s hard to have a regular dedicated group of people who donate blood, platelets or plasma, said Blood Source Auburn Donor Care Supervisor Shelby Lowry.

While it’s difficult to say how many visitors come in each day, there is a definite shortage in donations.

Around 38 percent of the U.S. is eligible to donate, but less than 10 percent actually do.

Gary Wilson, of Roseville, is a frequent donor, with over 30 gallons donated so far, he goes in for some sort of donation every week.

His father-in-law was a frequent donor and when he died, Wilson decided to take over the tradition.

“I decided to keep it going,” he said.

His sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and needed platelets and plasma while she was going through chemo-therapy so he switched from whole blood.

Every week he goes in for a plasma donation and every other week he donates platelets.

“I could not directly help my sister but I thought I could help someone in a similar situation,” said Wilson.

He is so dedicated to donating blood that he has a blood source license plate holder and takes a few hours to give back each week.

“I would just say to give it a try, it really doesn’t bother you,” said Wilson. “It just makes you feel good because you are helping someone else.”

The process to donate blood can only be done every eight weeks and takes about an hour from the time the donor walks in the door to the time they spend consuming refreshments at the end.

There have also been major changes to the qualifications for blood donors, previously those who had tattoos and piercings had to wait a year before donating blood.

The new rules say that as long as you are healthy and your tattoo came from a licensed California tattoo parlor you could potentially come in the same day, said Alexander Sigua, Blood Source public relations manager.

“We really encourage people to come in and meet with our team,” he said.

The problem with blood is that it can’t be manufactured.

“There is no artificial substitute,” said Sigua.

Blood only lasts 42 days and platelets only last five days, so there is always a need, said Sigua.

“I think it is important to remember that every two seconds someone needs blood,” he said. “There is no better way to give back to your community.”

One blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives.

At any given time the average adult has 10-12 pints of blood in their body and has the ability to produce more, meaning that donating one pint will not hurt the donor, said Sigua.

For more information or to donate visit bloodsource.org or call (866) 822-5663.