The mission of the University Blood Initiative is to mobilize and empower a generation of younger blood donors, but why should you join us in donating?
Even in the best of times, America needs blood. From emergency surgeries to cancer treatments, transfusions following injuries or pregnancy complications, the healthcare system runs on blood donations. Beyond extraordinary transfusions, blood can be used regularly and recurrently treat sickle cell disease or to produce clotting factors for patients with hemophilia, but its short shelf life and high demand means there is a constant need to replenish the supply, and therefore a constant need for donations.
However, the supply does not always match the demand. Only five percent of eligible blood donors actually donate, and the majority of those that do are middle-aged or older. Youth donors, in particular, are overwhelmingly disengaged; when the current active blood donors eventually become ineligible or stop donating without anyone to replace them, America will face a steep decline into a potentially debilitating blood supply shortage.
What Can I Do?
That’s where you come in. Donate blood. It’s one of the safest and most meaningful gifts you can give. The procedure itself, a simple blood drawing, typically lasts about ten minutes plus a brief recovery, and you can donate a pint of blood every two months or so (and you might even get a snack out of it). Every donation makes a difference, and a little bit of your time could help save a lot of lives.
Check with your local center to see if you’re eligible to donate blood, and make an appointment to do so (do keep in mind that although donating blood in the time of COVID-19 is safe and possible, there will
be increased safety precautions and the experience may differ a bit from an ordinary donation). Specific requirements may vary, but, as outlined by the Red Cross, you are generally eligible to donate health if you:
Are in good general health
Are over the age of 17 (16 with parental consent in some states)
Weigh at least 110 lbs
Have not donated blood in the past 56 days
Okay, What Next?
If you do donate, let us know! Take a selfie or a quick photo of the site and post with the hashtags #DonateRed #CovidCodeRed #NowMoreThanEver to join our COVID Code Red campaign and help spread the word. We might even feature you in one of our Donor Tuesdays!