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By Vida Mikalcius

Due to fewer community-sponsored blood drives, we are at risk of experiencing a local blood shortage.

Blood transfusions save lives: from traumatic accidents, to people with cancer, to children fighting leukemia.

Like many of us, I have had family members who have received blood transfusions. Once, when someone I loved was involved in a terrible accident. Many other times, for my father who fought a long hard battle with cancer. Those blood transfusions not only saved one life but extended another. Without them, perhaps the last precious memories I had with my father would have never existed.

When I lived in Thailand in my twenties, I donated blood once every two months. My blood type, O-, is rare in Thailand, but accidents, especially involving tourists on motorbikes, were common. Every time I got the call to ask if I could come in to donate, I came in. My blood, O-, is considered universal donor blood, meaning the immune system is not likely to reject it.

However, I left Thailand seven years ago. Since then, I’ve only donated a handful of times with the excuse that life has gotten in the way. I had a class here. A work appointment there. A visit with a friend on my day off.

I’ve had excuses.

It’s time to stop making excuses.

Blood donations have saved the lives of my loved ones. I will be visiting the American Red Cross website today and making an appointment to donate blood. 

If you feel healthy, able, and willing, I implore you to sign up to give blood as well.

Donated blood will be screened for COVID-19 antibodies. You can learn more about it here. This is not a diagnostic test, but you will have access to see the results of the test online. The American Red Cross urges only those who feel well and believe they are not carrying COVID-19 to donate.

If you do donate blood from October 15th-November 11th, 2020, you’ll receive a $5 Amazon.com Gift Card. You will also automatically be entered to win a 1 in 5 $1,000 Amazon.com Gift Card if you donate blood anytime during October. Learn more here.

A blood transfusion is performed approximately once every two seconds in the U.S. One donation can save up to three lives. Blood is not manufactured and must come from donors. If you can, please donate as soon as you are healthy and strong enough to do so.

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