I myself needed blood transfusions when I was a baby. My original due date was set for in January, I was born prematurely in September weighing in at 1 pound 10 ounces. Doctors were shocked that I even survived; even if I were to survive the doctor told my parents my motor skills would never develop properly, and that I would never be capable of breathing on my own. In my parents’ eyes I’m their miracle child that proved all the doctors wrong. My parents had faith in me that I was a fighter and could make it. I would have never made it through if it weren’t for the generous blood donors that helped me along the way. I wish I could thank every donor who took their time to give blood. My way of thanking them is doing my part and returning the favor. Every chance I get I donate blood thinking that maybe it can a help a child as it helped me. This is why it is so important to donate blood because you will never know if one child someday will need in order to save their life.
Who would ever go through the process of having the pain of having a needle being jabbed into your arm? Taking that pain for a short period of time but is well worth if it means saving a child’s life, as the American Red Cross reminds us: “Three lives can be saved after just one donation of blood.” (2)
Blood donations are the essential for our health care system for the future. Without the use of blood procedures our medical enhancement would never be where it is today. Blood transfusions play a big part in saving lives, medical treatments, and possible life enhancing procedures. In order to understand why it is so important to donate blood for children we will also need to know how the donating procedure works and why it is necessary. To understand why blood transfusions are so necessary for children, we will need to know some diseases that require blood transfusions for treatments. Once we cover the diseases that require blood transfusions we can then discuss some of the benefits received after donating blood, as well as a few of the risks.
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Part of the blood donation process is determining what type blood donation you would like to give. There are many different types: volunteer blood, designated blood donor, pre-operative donation, intra-operative autogologus transfusions, post-operative autologous transfusion, hemodilution, and apheresis (Balentine 1-3).
A blood donation is where a person takes the time to volunteer his or her blood to save a life. Designated blood donation is the process where a donor’s blood is specifically requested by the individual receiving the blood. The problem with this type of procedure is that it can take several days for an advance donation. A person can donate his or her own blood before a surgery where blood banks will store it until needed; this type of blood donation is called pre-operative donation. This procedure requires advance planning and eliminates the use of using someone else’s blood. Blood can be donated and replaced with IV fluids, and this process is called hemodilution. After the surgery your blood is then filtered and placed back in you. This process can help a person lose less blood during surgery. The final type of donation is a process called apheresis. This can allow a person to donate his or her own blood platelets and plasma before surgery. This process can help eliminate the need for blood donors and is mostly used for high blood loss surgeries (Balentine 1-3).
Making a blood donation is showing that you care; instead of thinking about yourself you’re saving someone else’s life:
Each year, approximately 14 million units of blood are donated by volunteers. These donations are processed into about 27 million blood components, which are transfused into approximately 4 million a year. (America’s Blood Centers 1)
... . What negative consequences do you think might result from this process? These weekly meetings can result to a burnout among employees ...
As you can tell, blood is used every day in order to save lives: “Approximately 40,000 units of blood are used each day in the United States” (America’s Blood Centers 1).
Taking a little time out of your day to do your part and donate can help save a child in desperate need for a blood transfusion: “If you’re a blood donor, you’re a hero to someone, somewhere, who received your gracious gift of life” (Quotes 1).
Since we know the processes of donating blood we can look at blood types people may have and whom they are eligible to donate to.
There are eight different blood types identified: O positive, O negative, B positive, B negative, A positive, A negative, AB positive, and AB negative. Your blood type is determined before you’re born by receiving one gene from both your mother and father. Both of these inherited genes determine your blood type (Blood Book 4).
Below is a chart of blood types that determine who can donate to which blood type.
Your Blood Type | % of Population | Recipients | Preferred Donation |
O+ | 37.4 | O+, A+ B+, AB+
(85%) | Whole Blood or red blood Cells |
O- | 6.6 | All Types
(100%) | Whole Blood or Red Blood Cells |
A+ | 35.8 | A+, AB+
(39.2%) | Platelets or Plasma |
A- | 6.3 | A+, A-, AB+, AB-
(46.1%) | Whole Blood or Red Blood Cells |
B+ | 8.5 | B+, AB+
(11.9%) | Platelets or Plasma |
B- | 1.5 | B+, B-, AB+, AB-
(14%) | Whole Blood or Red Blood Cells |
AB+ | 3.4 | AB+
(3.4%) | Plasma |
AB- | .6 | AB+, AB-
(4%) | Plasma |
Not until the 1900’s was blood type identification was discovered by Karl Landsteiner (Blood Book 1).
Blood types A and O are the most common: “One out of every three people has either A or O positive blood since these are the most common blood types people feel that they do not have to donate causing a shortage in blood supplies” (Blood Book 5).
People who have the blood type O negative are considered universal donors. They are eligible to donate to any blood type. About one in every fifteen people has this blood type (Blood Book 5) Everyone should do their part to help others in need: “If all blood donors gave blood two to four times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event. Most blood shortages take place during the winter and the summertime” (Blood Facts 2).
... . This is the case with red blood cells, in a hypertonic solution, more water leaves than enters the red blood cells, so they in turn, shrink ... easily seen under a light microscope. The nucleus (in many cell types) is the innermost and is enclosed by a thin membrane ... become any of a restricted number of cell types. All of the differentiated cell types in a human body can be traced back through ...
Some people feel that there is an endless blood supply but in reality blood banks constantly need to be resupplied by blood donations because after 21 days, blood is too stale to be used whole; the plasma can still be extracted” (Blood Facts 3) Blood supplies must be stable and we should never have a shortage in blood supply. It should always be readily available.
Some people don’t realize how many people are in need of blood everyday in order to survive.
Perhaps the greatest reward from donating blood is knowing your blood, part of who you are, lives on in those around you. So for those who are thinking of donating, understand you would truly be offering a most beautiful part of yourself giving the gift of life to for benefit those who are less fortunate
(ARUP Blood Services 5.)
Many blood transfusion recipients’ families are grateful for this act of love when people donate. Becky Scott, a mother of a premature baby, thanked Red Cross: “If it wasn’t for blood donors, Kaitlyn wouldn’t be here.” Premature baby Kaitlyn Scott, was born three months early weighing 1 pound 6 ounces when she was delivered. Kaitlyn had a drug administered to her to help her lungs develop faster. After administration of the drug, Kaitlyn’s blood pressure rose forcing doctors to perform an emergency c-section on Becky. After Kaitlyn was born she needed many blood transfusions in order to help her survive. There are many requirements in order to be a blood donor that is required by the Red Cross. (American National Red Cross. Recipients: Kaitlyn 1-2)
“The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all” (Quotes Garden: Inspiration Quotes about Helping and Making a Difference 1.) Donating blood has many precautions and is a safe way to save lives. There are some requirements that are considered before you decide to donate. Donors must at least be the age of 18, if you are 16 or 17 you can donate if you are accompanied by a parent or guardian. To be eligible you must weigh at least 110 pounds or more in order to donate whole blood. You cannot be less than the required weight because that may put you in jeopardy of becoming sick due to low red blood count. Being in good health is a number one requirement as is having no history of hepatitis, HIV, or AIDS. A possible blood donor must be aware of where they traveled during past years. You are not eligible to donate if you have traveled to a malarial-endemic area in the past couple years. (Red Cross) Below is a listing of places that are malarial-endemic areas:
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( Bonfil Blood Center: 2)
Other conditions that apply to being a donor are piercings and tattoos. If you have gotten a tattoo or piercing in the past year you are ineligible to donate blood. A possible donor is only eligible if the needle was sterilized during the tabooing and piercing procedure. Once you have registered for donating you will then be asked to take part in a physical which will include a nurse taking your blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin level. Next is the donation process which lasts about ten to fifteen minutes. After your donation you must relax and water and snack will be provided to you.
Since blood is a constant necessity, blood banks must always have a stable blood supply in case of emergencies. Blood costs nothing to give yet is more valuable than any other resource on earth. Don’t let the blood center run dry! (Blood Quotes 1) Blood transfusions are used for many medical purposes such as surgeries and treatments for illnesses. Most transfusions are used on patients who are anemic, diagnosed with cancer or leukemia, premature babies, and burn victims. Victims who have undergone an accident or patients receiving an organ or bone marrow transplant are also eligible for blood transfusions.
Blood Transfusions save millions of lives in the United States every year. Recent estimates suggest that about half of Americans will need a blood transfusion at some point during their lives. (American Cancer Society 1.)
Below is a chart that of how many units of blood are needed in order to save a life.
... blood transfusion. While most blood transfusions go well, mild complications can occur and serious problems may develop. The Individual Parts Defined Red Blood Cells -the most numerous blood cell ... . Risk for hepatitis C is 1 per 3000-4000 units transfused. * Risk of transfusion-related HIV infection is 1 per 150,000 ...
Liver Transplant | 6-10 units of red blood cells
20 units of plasma
10 units of platelets |
Kidney Transplant | 1-2 units of red blood cells |
Heart Transplant | 2-6 units of red blood cells |
Adult Open-heart Surgery | 2-6 units of red blood cells
2-4 units of plasma
1-10 units of platelets |
Newborn Open-heart Surgery | 1-4 units of red blood cells
1-2 units of plasma
1-4 units of platelets |
Prostate Cancer Surgery | 2-4 units of red blood cells |
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm | 4-6 units of red blood cells |
Bone Marrow Transplant | 1-2 units of red blood cells every other day for 2-4 weeks
6-8 units of platelets daily for 4-6 weeks |
Automobile Accident | 4-40 units of red blood cells |
Leukemia | 2-6 units of red blood cells
6-8 units of platelets daily for 2-4 weeks |
Sickle Cell Disease | 10-15 units of red blood cells to treat severe complications |
Premature Newborn | 1-4 units of red blood cells while in intensive care |
(ARUP Blood Services. Use of Donated Blood Chart 1.)
“People can donate up to one pint of blood every 56 days. After donating blood you red blood cells are replaced with new ones after four weeks” (Blood Book 4-5.) Everyday someone in world will need a transfusion in order to save their life. You can tell that in the chart above that many patients need countless units of blood in order to undergo surgeries or treatments in order to survive.
Many patients and victims need blood transfusions to help save their life. A patient suffering from anemia already has a low red blood count and is often in desperate need of blood transfusions. Since an anemic patient’s blood count is so low they don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the cells. (American Cancer Society 2) Mother Rebecca Mead has two children named Alex and Claudia who suffer from anemia: “We are forever grateful to the people who have the heart to donate blood…blood donors give a piece of themselves and that is a priceless gift for families like us.” Alex and Claudia had a rare case of anemia when they were only a couple of hours old they need blood transfusions in order to survive. So far Alex and Claudia have received over 110 blood transfusions. Their family is very grateful they want people that one donation can make a difference. (American Blood Centers. Lives Saved by Blood: Alex and Claudia Mead 1.) If it wasn’t for blood transfusions Alex and Claudia might have not been able to survive. Fourteen year old Taran Johnson was diagnosed with cancer. Her father Randy Johnson says that donations for his daughter suffering from cancer were “life changing.” He claims:
... sure it matches your blood type. To keep blood safe, blood banks carefully screen donated blood. ‘The main risk of a blood transfusion is to get ... and perfluorochemical compounds. These products do the job of the red blood cells , such as carrying oxygen to tissues, but it ... do it, it is very rare. Especially the blood transfusions which are with red blood cells have been proved to be critical because ...
If it were not for blood donations from the hundreds of people that his daughter would not be here today…I am grateful for them. I have no other way of paying them back than be a regular donor myself (ARUP Blood Services 2)
Cancer patients are in need for blood transfusions because certain cancers such as digestive ones can cause internal bleeding therefore, reducing red blood cell count: “Cancer cause low blood count the patient may become anemic needing blood transfusions to stabilize red blood cell count” (American Cancer Society 2.) Danielle is a new mother who thanks blood donors for helping her son survive when he was diagnosed with cancer:
My 5 year old son was diagnosed with cancer, our world turned upside down. One of the first things the emergency room determined was that he was severely anemic and low in platelets. He received 3 bags of whole blood and platelets within hours of his diagnosis. Since then, he has had 11 blood … [read more]transfusions and is doing very well. He will continue to receive at least one transfusion per month for the next 2 1/2 years. With all of the fear and trauma associated with cancer, availability of blood has never been one of them. Blood has always been there for my son thanks to good people who donate. We are so grateful. Thank you! (American National Red Cross. Blood Recipient Stories1)
Children diagnosed with Leukemia need blood transfusions for treatments. The cancer can prevent the patient’s body from creating new red blood cells which helps transport oxygen throughout the body. This disease can cause anemia which requires blood transfusions. Blood donors have helped a young boy named Shane fight Leukemia. Shane at age 6 was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Shane also suffered from anemia and was immediately given a blood transfusion. Shane’s parents would like to thank the donors who shared a part of him or herself so our son may one day be healthy again and cancer free. Since then, Shane has had several transfusions, and without them, he would not be here today. (ARUP Blood Services. Donor Recipient Stories 5)
Samuel was a victim of Leukemia also:
Samuel Quinton, Dany Quinton and Jenny Roy’s son. On May 23, 2004, when I was barely 14 months old, I was admitted to Laval University Hospital. The doctors discovered I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In the weeks following my hospitalization, I received eight blood product transfusions. Thanks to these transfusions I was able to fight against the disease. Giving blood is giving life an opportunity. I’m going to keep fighting this battle with all my strength and courage. America’s Blood Centers. Lives Saved by Blood: Samuel Quinton).
Premature babies are in need of blood transfusions since they are born so early they end up having a low red blood count. “A newborn baby has about one cup of blood in their body when they are born” (Blood Book 4.) Premature babies often need blood transfusions and other medical attention to help them survive. Julie Dougherty is a mother of premature baby Eliza:
While I was raised in a family that taught the importance of donating blood, I never thought I would experience such a direct confirmation of this need. We are so grateful for the blood donors who gave life to our baby! When you give blood, you truly do give life (ARUP Blood Services. Donor Recipient Stories 2-3.)
Eliza was born March 5 weighing 1 pound 2 ounces; her due date was scheduled on June 12th. She was born 14 weeks early due to deficient placenta. Eliza received seven transfusions of blood during her first month of life. (ARUP Blood Services. Donor Recipients Stories 2-3) Both Eliza’s parents happy and grateful for blood donors and appreciate all the blood donors who give blood.
Burn victims are in need of blood transfusions because they need to undergo critical surgeries. Organ and bone marrow recipients who go in for surgery need blood transfusion. In fact any patients who are involved in a surgery must have blood transfusions because there is a risk of losing blood during the process of the surgery. One spirited little girl named Adriana Aboumrad always thinks about everyone else but herself. Adriana received a bone marrow transplant in 2001 hoping that it would cure her leukemia. Leanne Aboumrad, Adriana’s mother, says that they were blessed by having two donor matches, Reena and Anthony, Adriana’s sister and brother. Bone marrow transplants require many blood transfusions. Leanne says it is the community of blood donors who really helped Adriana get through her surgery and recovery. Her mom has lost track of the number of times Adriana received blood transfusions. “If I held a thank you party for Adriana’s donors, I don’t think that they would fit in my house. -Leanne Aboumrad Adriana is home from the hospital now and returned to school in the fall of 2004 after two years out.” (American National Red Cross Recipients: Adriana 1)
Isabelle Eve Postma needed to undergo surgery for a major brain tumor:
Isabelle was born on May 20, 2001 but, less than a month before her first birthday, she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Although doctors performed surgery to biopsy the tumor soon after her diagnosis, it was later determined that an operation to remove the tumor would not be an option without devastating consequences. Because of her young age, radiation therapy would also cause more harm than good. It seemed chemotherapy was her best and only chance. Suffering from hydrocephalus and other symptoms caused by the growing tumor and its treatment, Isabelle spent three weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit at Primary Children’s Hospital and eight more weeks in either the neuro trauma or oncology/hematology unit. Isabelle quickly lost her hair but was never able to misplace her smile. She has been her parents’ greatest source of hope and continues to surprise and inspire them daily. Though much of her future is still in question, each day is both a blessing and a miracle. Isabelle would like to thank all of the doctors and nurses who have taken such good care of her–and especially those who have donated the blood and platelets she continues to need with her treatments. (ARUP Blood Services. Donor Recipient Stories 3-4.)
Children who suffer major accidents require blood transfusions, depending on how critical the accidents are. Sixteen year old Holly Abner needed over sixty four units of blood due to a car accident where she suffered a severely liver laceration. She lost tons of blood quickly when she entered the emergency room. Her mother is grateful to have her daughter here today “If it weren’t for blood donors my daughter wouldn’t be here today” (American Blood Center. Lives Saved by Blood: Holly Abner 1.) The same thing goes for Janessa McMillan 13 years old that had a terrible biking accident. While riding her bike downhill towards a busy intersection, noticed a large truck pulling a flatbed trailer at the intersection at the bottom of the hill and tried to stop. Janessa, was not wearing a helmet at the time, hit the back edge of the trailer and flew over the trailer, and landed on her left arm in the intersection. Janessa was taken by helicopter to Primary Children’s Medical Center. Janessa found out that the left part of her face had been scraped off and she had a blood clot in her brain. She also needed 9 screws, 2 plates, 14 stitches in her ear, 55 stitches in her arm and numerous more across the top of her head. Janessa and her family realize how close she was to dying and want to thank all the blood donors for giving in a time of need. Janessa’s mom, Lisa, said that she never gave a thought about the blood supply before, but she can’t put it in to words how thankful she was that there was enough blood for Janessa during her time of need. (ARUP Blood Services. Donor Recipient Stories 1-2) If it weren’t for blood donors these children might not be here today.
Some of the benefits from donating blood are thinking about how many lives you would be saving. Someone needs blood every two seconds and about three gallons of blood is used every minute in the United States (Blood Book 3.) Donating blood is giving the gift of life to someone who really needs it. Most donors feel good about what they are doing and that they are doing their part helping others.
Although their benefits for donating blood there are some slight risk people think they take while donating. People feel that they will be at risk with some of the materials such as needles, tubes, or bags which is untrue. All the supplies used for donating are sterilized. (American National Red Cross. Eligibility Requirements 2-3.) Don’t worry there are no risks for donating blood everything is safe and many precautions are taken before one donate don’t let that thought keep you from donating.
In conclusion, donating blood to children is an important cause that creates a huge impact on other people’s lives.
Our donors are the key to maintaining our supplies. It’s always great to do something to help someone else by donating blood, but it’s also nice to receive a little something for the effort. That’s why we have the extra incentives. While you can’t repay someone for the gift of life, this is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for giving to someone else (Courtney Martin Quotes 2.)
It opens up people eyes showing them that there are others out there thinking about them. “Blood donation is a gift; straight from the heart” (Blood Facts 2.) So next time if your hear a blood drive is coming up take some time out of your day to donate and save a life.
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< //www.bonfils.org/default/index.cfm/donate-blood/eligibility/ >.
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