Editorial: A selfless act

One of the greatest gifts we can give doesn’t cost any more than a little bit of your time. It is the gift of blood.

The American Red Cross will have a donation site at Wilton Library today from 1 to 6:30. You can walk in and make a donation. The entire process takes about an hour, although the actual blood donation process takes 10 to 15 minutes.

The need for blood is great. People need blood for many reasons; accident victims and cancer patients are just two with the greatest need. Many cancer patients need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

If you have Type O-negative blood, yours is in the greatest demand and often in shortest supply. Only 7% of all Americans have this type, but it can be transfused to patients of all blood types. It is needed in emergencies before a patient’s blood type is known and for newborns who need blood.

Type AB-positive plasma, also usually in short supply, can be transfused to patients of all other blood types. This type is even more rare than O-negative; only 3% of the population has it. AB-positive plasma is also used in emergencies, for newborns and for patients requiring massive transfusions.

The average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his or her body, and one is given during the donation process. That one pint can produce red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate (a clotting product), all of which are transfusable. Usually, two or three of these are produced from one pint of whole blood. That’s why the Red Cross says “each donation can help save up to three lives.”

If you can’t make it to Wilton Library today, please consider a donation in the future. Visit redcrossblood.org to find a donation site near here.