Americans are very generous people. Every year, 70% of the people in the United States donate to charity. Nearly 3% of all income generated in the country is given to charity. In 2014, private American Red Cross donations totaled about $687 million making it the 13th largest charity in the country. When people want to help others, there are a lot of ways they can do it. They can also visit a Red Cross donation center and give items such as clothing. These Red Cross clothing donations do a lot to help the organization and the people it helps.
This year, people at the American Red Cross are renewing their calls for people who can donate blood and platelets to make a commitment to doing just that, according to the charity’s website. Staff at the Red Cross call blood and platelet donations to be the “perfect gift.” They say that in the time between Thanksgiving and the New Year, the number of people who visit Red Cross Donation centers to give blood or donate platelets drops significantly. The issue is that the need for blood and blood products remains strong.
In a news piece on the Red Cross website, they profile one patient, Caleb Moraine, who needs life saving blood to help him. Caleb is 18 years old and he hopes to start college in the fall of 2017. He is an avid swimmer and photographer. He loves to go camping, play video games and to hang out with his dogs Manny and Otis.
In many ways, Caleb is like any other 18 year old. In one way, he is not. He is is also suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma. He developed the cancer when he was 16. It had been in remission but returned in 2016 so over this holiday season, he is fighting for his life.
Caleb’s mother, Renee said, “Cancer has robbed Caleb of a lot of his teenage years. He missed most of high school and self-taught his way to graduate with his class. No proms. No school activities. No hanging out with his friends. But Caleb is a fighter and a brave warrior.”
In the last two years, Caleb has been given more than 50 transfusions of platelets. These platelet transfusions are needed to help him recover from and cope with his chemotherapy treatments. Chemotherapy attacks the cancer cells but it also kills many important cells in his blood. He and his family remain very grateful to the people who have donated both blood and platelets.
Renee said, “Each and every one has been life saving for him. When he is receiving a blood transfusion you can watch the transformation taking place. When done with a transfusion he is energized and ready to get back to living life to its fullest.”
There are several kinds of donations that are needed. Red Cross Donation Centers take whole blood, plasma, platelets and concentrated amounts of red blood cells, called “power red” donations. Experts at the Red Cross donation Centers report that they are in desperate need for blood that is O, B or A negative but they welcome donations from people with any blood types.
For platelet, plasma and power red donations, the blood is filtered through a machine and the individual component that is needed is removed and the rest of the blood is returned to the body. These typically require a needle be put in each arm and the donations take a bit longer than traditional whole blood donations. The process is very safe and virtually pain free.
While you have to wait about 56 days or eight weeks between whole blood donations, platelets can be donated much more often. Once they are donated, they need to be used within five days. They are always needed. You can make platelet donations every seven days and you can do it up to 24 times in a year. Staff at Red Cross donation centers say these kinds of donations are very important and are always something they need. If you want to help someone directly, this is reallya great way to do it.