By Rita Blomster, Communications Volunteer
As the American Red Cross reports its lowest blood supply in a decade, one cancer survivor’s story illustrates the critical importance of blood donations.
Brittany DeNorscio was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017. Last month, she told ABC10 in Sacramento that she was thankful for the many anonymous donors who saved her life as she went through chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and countless blood transfusions.
Now in remission, DeNorscio wants others to become blood donors.
“You could be, you know, walking down the street and pass somebody you don’t even know that you saved their life just by donating blood,” she told ABC10.
Dr. Sarah Barnhard, UC Davis Health Center’s Director of Transfusion Medicine, agrees.
“There is no other medical therapy that can replace giving blood transfusions to patients,” she told ABC10. “There are a whole host of patients that need blood transfusions in order to survive. They would include everyone from the oncology wards to patients who deliver babies and then have bleeding afterward.
“Even tiny babies in the intensive care unit oftentimes need to have blood transfusions in order to save their life.”
The Red Cross must collect about 12,500 blood donations and nearly 3,000 platelet donations every day for hospital patients. All from volunteer donors.
January is Blood Donor Month. To donate blood, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enable the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.
A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.
Blood and platelet donors can save time at their next donation by using RapidPass® to complete their pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of their donation, before arriving at the blood drive. To get started, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Blood Donor App.