ST. GEORGE – Because of the short lifespan of donated blood, the Red Cross seeks to answer the constant need for donations through donor centers and blood drives.
According to John Peterson, public relations spokesman for the Red Cross, only 38 percent of all potential donors are able to donate usable blood. The remainder is rejected due to things like an illnesses they may have contracted or medication they may currently be taking. Of this 38 percent, only eight percent actually donate blood in times of non-emergency.
“Our challenge is that the need is constant,” Peterson said.
When a person donates blood, Peterson said that one pint of “whole blood” was taken from the donor. This whole blood is then sent to Salt Lake City for processing where it is separated into three usable parts: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. This way, Peterson said, the blood from one person has the potential to help save the lives of three separate people.
Red blood cells can be stored for up to 42 days. Plasma is frozen and can last as long as a year. The platelets only last for five days.
When asked how people in Southern Utah answered the call for donations, Peterson praised them.
“People in Utah and St. George especially, are very responsive to the need for donated blood,” Peterson said.
Not everyone goes to the Donors Center to donate, however. Many times a year, blood drives are held at different locations throughout the area. One such blood drive will be held at Alliance Home Health and Hospice on Sept. 13.
Harmony Judd, a coordinator for the event, said that the Red Cross likes to have hosted blood drives in order to reach new demographics.
The blood drive will be held in the conference room of Alliance Home Health and Hospice on Tuesday, Sept. 13, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The address is 492 East Riverside Suite 3B in St. George. For more information or to set up an appointment, call Harmony Judd at 435-656-2889.
For anyone interested in hosting a blood drive or learning more about the St. George Donor Center, additional information can be found on the Red Cross’ website.
Copyright 2011 St. George News. This material may not be published or rewritten without written consent.