Letter to the Editor: January is Volunteer Blood Donor Month

Dear editor,

Traditionally, January is a time of new beginnings. People make resolutions to change their lives by taking up good habits. There’s no better time of the year for National Volunteer Blood Donor Month to occur.

We join American Red Cross and other blood centers across the country in encouraging the public to make lifesaving a habit by donating blood.

Fittingly, on Jan. 20, House Bill 191, sponsored by Rep. Mauree Gingrich, takes effect, allowing 16-year-olds to donate blood in Pennsylvania with parental consent. The Commonwealth joins 14 other states and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in permitting blood donation by 16-year-olds. Such legislation gives the average youth more than one opportunity to be approached and educated on this important civic duty.

Increased blood donation by all ages is critically important following the holiday season. Donor turnout tends to decrease over the holidays, and inclement weather and outbreaks of colds and flu can also result in decreased donor turnout.

Every two seconds, someone in our country needs a blood transfusion. When the need arises, blood products must be readily available to help sustain life.

Studies show that nearly 40 percent of us can donate blood, although only 5 percent of the population actually donates each year. Most people can donate blood every 56 days.

For more information about local Red Cross blood drives, please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE or visit the Web site.

Make lifesaving a habit. Please donate blood over the coming days and weeks, and continue to give regularly in the future.

Sincerely,

James E. Starr, CEO
American Red Cross Blood Services, Greater Alleghenies Region

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