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World Blood Donor Day has renewed focus amid nationwide shortages

Bloodworks Northwest is looking for potential donors as supplies run thin.

SEATTLE — June 14 is World Blood Donor Day. A national blood shortage is in sharp focus this year, as it’s estimated that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S needs blood. 

The American Red Cross claims this year is seeing the worst blood shortage in over a decade. 

Bloodworks Northwest said they have about 4,000 appointments available and have confidence donors will fill the void.  

“We’re hoping the community will step up, as they always do,” Community Engagement Director Juan Cotto said.

Out of the 35% of Americans who are eligible, only 10% donate. Jill Gallagher and her son Jake stopped by Bloodworks for a platelet donation, something the organization said is an even more urgent need. 

“I feel like it’s the least you can do and everyone should be donating. You get to sit with warm blankets, have snacks and watch TV. All with the idea of helping to save a life” Gallagher said. 

Platelets are the smallest component of your blood that control bleeding. Platelets cluster together to form a clot and prevent bleeding at the site of an injury.

“The extraction process takes a bit longer and the shelf life is just five days,” Cotto said. 

He adds that the northwest is also home to several cancer research and treatment centers, so the platelet donations are ever more critical. There are tens of thousands of platelets in a single drop of blood.

The fear of needles or the sight of blood may be a deterrent for some, but there are health benefits to facing your fear and making a potentially life-saving donation. 

Donating blood helps create new blood cells, reduces risk of heart attack and liver ailment, lowers cholesterol and even slows down aging. 

A standard blood donation can take an hour and a platelet donation lasts upwards of 90 minutes or more. Bloodworks Northwest has 10 donor centers and numerous pop-up locations throughout western Washington and Oregon. Masks and appointments are required.

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