Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 9, 2014

EDITORIAL: Be a hero, give blood

Goshen News

---- — At the core of much of America’s life-saving medical practice is the need for blood. Patients fighting disease need blood for transfusions. Patients who suffer traumatic injuries need blood to replenish what they may have lost. Patients undergoing complex and even minor surgeries need blood, also.

The source of that blood is tens of millions of volunteers who extend their arms, offer their veins and spare about an hour of their day and a pint of their blood. We commend everybody who takes the time and effort to give of themselves so that others may live and survive unthinkable hardship. Blood donors are indeed the unsung heroes in our community. And that’s not an overstatement, it’s the truth. Everybody who donates a pint of blood gives hope to others. It really is that simple.

AS GOSHEN NEWS STAFF WRITER Sherry Van Arsdall reports on today’s front page, the harsh winter of 2013-14 has taken its toll on local blood supplies. As the snow piled up and travel restrictions were put in place in much of our area, the northern Indiana region lost approximately 600 units of blood last month, according to Madge Chapman, supervisor of the Red Cross Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region.

Therefore, Chapman said, the agency has an urgent need for donors to help re-stock dwindling supplies. Most in need are donors of O-positive, O-negative, A-negative and B-negative blood, the most common blood types.

The outlook is just as dire nationally. Similar calls to action can be found in newspapers in Fayetteville, N.C., Scranton, Pa. and Steubenville, Ohio. It is estimated that January’s infamous Polar Vortex throughout much of the nation caused nearly 800 American Red Cross blood drive cancellations that would have produced an estimated 25,000 units of blood. At some hospitals elective surgeries have been postponed to conserve blood for emergencies.

WE ARE CONFIDENT that those who regularly give blood either are, or will be, right back at it as the weather breaks. What we’d love to see is a surge of new blood donors to help make up the difference. Donating blood is a pretty simple process. Here are a few tips:

• Drink plenty of fluids before donating

• Wear something comfortable and that can be easily pushed or folded above your elbow

• Maintain a healthy level of iron in your diet

• Have a list of medications you are taking

• Have either your donor card, driver’s license or two other forms of identification

• Relax.

The whole process, including registration, usually takes about an hour. So, we would encourage all able-bodied individuals who are eligible to donate (age, weight and health stipulations do apply) to make a pledge to be a hero by donating blood. There are two blood donation locations in Goshen, at 1123 S. Indiana Ave. and 226 S. Main Street. We hope to see your there.