JULIE STAFFORD: Blood drives hit home


By Julie Stafford • Last Updated 10:32 am on Wednesday, February 08, 2012
UPCOMING BLOOD DRIVES
There are a number of blood drives going on in our area during the next couple of weeks. You don’t need an appointment to donate.
Today
Greenville Armory
319 S. Hillcrest St.
Greenville
10:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Conducted by American Red Cross
Friday
Hunt for the Cure
* $10 donated to the cause for every donor
Spectrum Health United Hospital
615 S. Bower St.
Greenville
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Conducted by Michigan Blood
Hunt for the Cure
* $10 donated to the cause for every donor
Greenville High School
111 N. Hillcrest St.
Greenville
2 to 8 p.m.
Conducted by Michigan Blood
Calvary Baptist Church
12501 Montcalm Ave. NE
Greenville
American Red Cross
1 to 6:45 p.m.
Conducted by the American Red Cross
Feb. 15
American Legion
1320 W. Washington St.
Greenville
Noon to 6:45 p.m.
Conducted by Michigan Blood
Feb. 16
Great Lakes Adventist Academy
7195 Academy Road
Cedar Lake
9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Conducted by the American Red Cross
Feb. 21
Grattan Academy
9481 Jordan Road
Greenville
8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
Conducted by the American Red Cross
Feb. 22
Curtis Community Center
209 Sheldon St.
Edmore
1 to 6:45 p.m.
Conducted by the American Red Cross
Donating
• Get plenty of rest, drink extra fluids, eat a good meal (including iron-rich foods), and avoid alcohol.
• Eat more salty foods than usual 24 hours before you donate (check with your doctor first if you have certain medical conditions).
• Avoid smoking right before you donate.
• The entire process takes about 60 minutes.
• Healthy people are eligible to donate every 56 days.
• Present photo ID or two forms of nonphoto ID.
• Must be 17 years old or 16 (weighing at least 110 pounds) with a parental consent form.
• Drink a bottle of water to hydrate before you donate.
• Most people feel fine. Drink more nonalcoholic liquids than usual because your body replaces the liquid volume of the donated blood within 24 hours.
• Eat more salty foods than usual 24 hours after you donate (check with your doctor first if you have certain medical conditions).
• Avoid smoking for 30 minutes.
• Delay strenuous exercise until after your next regular, full meal.
• Leave the bandage on your arm for 3-4 hours to protect your skin against infection.
• If you feel light-headed after donating, sit down or pull off to the side of the road if you’re driving and wait until you feel better before continuing.

Julie Stafford

My life is divided into two time frames. Before my daughter Emma was diagnosed with cancer and after I heard the doctor confirm my worst fear.

For example, before Emma at the age of 8 was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma, I knew blood drives took place and I knew they were important. But that’s about as far as my thought process went.

After she was diagnosed, I had lived firsthand — sometimes on a daily basis — how important they truly are. Every minute of every day, doctors having access to blood means the difference between life and death for thousands of folks throughout the country. Patients need it during surgeries. There are a variety of blood disorders that require frequent transfusions. And people like Emma need blood to help recharge their systems that have been affected by treatments needed to save their lives.

During the next couple of weeks, there are a number of blood drives taking place throughout our area. On Friday, Michigan Blood is conducting two drives — one at Spectrum Health United Hospital and one at Greenville High School — to benefit the Hunt for the Cure. For every person who donates that day, Michigan Blood will donate $10 to the fundraiser. So not only could you help save a life, you also could help raise money that will be used to find a cure for cancer.

We were lucky that Emma doesn’t have a rare blood type that’s in short supply. And we were lucky there was enough blood when we needed it to help her body get through the ordeal. I can’t imagine what would have happened had there not been enough.

While obviously I am thrilled Emma is healthy and no longer in need of treatment or transfusions, my heart aches for all of the kids and adults and their families who are in the midst of a fight for their lives.
Statistics show that every day 44,000 units of blood are needed in the United States. Emma’s need was a very small part of that number, but the blood she received during treatment was a very big part of her survival. If you’re healthy, please consider donating blood.

Julie Stafford is publisher of The Daily News. She can be reached at juliestafford@staffordgroup.com or (616) 548-8260.

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