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Donate blood, save a life

February 24, 2011

Its time again for the Lone Pine Blood Drive, from noon-6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at Statham Hall. This year's goal is to have 55 pints donated. To make an appointment call (760) 876-4183. Photo courtesy of University of Nevada, Reno

It’s time to pull up a sleeve and save a life. Residents of Southern Inyo are being asked to donate blood, once again, at the Lone Pine Blood Drive and to fulfill the need for plasma throughout the U.S. 395 corridor.
The goal for this year’s drive is 55 pints, up from 50 last year. Jan McKee, senior donor recruitment representative for Untied Blood Service of Reno, said she hopes that new Southern Inyo Coordinator Donna Carson will be bringing in plenty of donors.
The drive will be held from noon-6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at Statham Hall.
According to the American Red Cross, someone is in need of a blood transfusion every two seconds and there is no substitute for donations. However, only one in 300 Americans donates blood.
Requirements for donating comprise a short list. McKee said donors must be healthy, at least 17 years old in most states, or 16 years old with parental consent if allowed by state law, and weigh at least 110 pounds.
Red Cross says donors can give whole blood every 56 days. Platelets can be donated every seven days, up to 24 times a year; plasma every 28 days, up to 13 times a year.
McKee explained that all donated blood is separated into its three components: platelets, plasma and red blood cells.
The Red Cross defines platelets as a “vital element of cancer and organ transplant treatments, as well as many surgical procedures,” helping to prevent blood loss. A single donation of platelets “can constitute one or several transfusable units, while it takes about five whole blood donations to constitute a single transfusable unit of platelets.”
This separation process can be done during the donation via a dual unit machine. The machine acts as a transfusion machine, taking in whole blood, separating the three components, keeping the red blood cells and pumping the plasma and platelets back into the donor. This procedure allows donors to give two pints at a sitting.
McKee said this same process is done in the laboratory with whole blood and all three components being stored separately.
Red blood cell transfusions are specifically helpful for patients with chronic anemia resulting from kidney failure or gastrointestinal bleeding, and those with acute blood loss resulting from trauma, says the Red Cross.
To schedule an appointment, contact Donna Carson at (760) 876-4183 or go to www.bloodhero.com and type “Lone” in the sponsor code.

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