The Mid-Atlantic region’s blood supply has never been lower, and the Blood Bank of Delmarva is urgently calling for donors. There has been a significant decline in regular blood donors, and the region’s supply has reached critically low levels. In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right now, reserves are below that minimum.

BBD cited the following factors, which have led to the current shortage:

• Decline in overall donor base

• Decline in first-time donors

• Decline in repeat donations

• Increased demand for blood products

“Our friends and neighbors across the nation and the region need more blood products, and yet the number of donors has been declining,” said Richard Thomas, senior executive director at the Blood Bank of Delmarva. “We’re asking the community to come together so everyone in the region has access to the lifesaving blood they need.”

Approximately 41,000 pints of blood are used each day in the United States. Every two seconds someone needs blood. One out of every 10 people entering a hospital needs blood. 4.5 million Americans would die each year without life saving blood transfusions.

It only takes one hour to donate, and a single donation can be used to save multiple lives. Blood Bank of Delmarva’s primary objective is to reliably provide blood and blood products to meet the patient needs in the 19 hospitals in the Delmarva Region. In addition, the Blood Bank is often called upon to support other communities when local supply is strong but other areas are faced with high demand or during disasters. Blood has a limited shelf life; supplies must be continually replenished.

Those in need include: cancer patients, accident, burn, or trauma victims, newborn babies and their mothers, transplant recipients, surgery patients, chronically transfused patients suffering from sickle cell disease or thalassemia, and many more. Donors with O-negative blood type, i.e. “universal donors,” are especially encouraged to donate, as their blood can be used in emergencies.

Blood can be safely donated every 56 days. Platelets can be given every seven days — up to 24 times a year. Individuals who are 17 years old (16 with parental consent in most states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Donating blood has many benefits. It feels great to donate. You get free juice and cookies. It’s something you can spare. You will help ensure blood is on the shelf when needed. You will be someone’s hero. Just one donation can help save as many as three people’s lives. Make an appointment to donate blood today.

Give the gift of life. Give blood.

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