by Amy Yen, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
I have always loved pictures of people who just gave blood. There’s always this pose they have, with their arm held up, showing off the bandage, like Rosie the Riveter. Like they’re a superhero. Because that’s exactly what they are.
Did you know every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood? And each blood donation can save more than one life? That’s gotta be right up there with Wonder Woman’s save rate.
Every year on this date, we celebrate World Blood Donor Day to thank donors for their incredible gifts of life.
Blood donations are especially important over the summer, when we face a shortage in our blood supply because schools—where many blood drives are held—are not in session. That’s why, as a former Red Crosser, I wanted to hold a blood drive with my company Hyatt over the summer.
As I started to seek the 45 commitments from potential blood donors I needed to get the blood drive scheduled, I ran into something unexpected. A few regular blood donors rallied their co-workers to sign up…I got the 45 signatures in less than two hours. Talk about heroic.
What makes these dedicated blood donors keep giving? Sometimes, it’s being inspired.
“My dad gave,” explained Bryan King, Director of Sales and Marketing at Hyatt Regency Dallas and regular blood donor. “He donated 150 pints until he was 70 years old. He has a plaque and everything.”
Sometimes, it’s personal.
“When I was a lot younger, my little brother was in a motorcycle accident. He was in a coma for a long time and needed two blood transfusions,” said Chef Bryan Patton, a Power Red donor. “I know how important blood is and I feel like giving blood is the least I can do to give back. So when I can, I do.”
No matter what the reason, every blood donor is vital. Over the last four years, new Red Cross donors have declined by about 80,000 each year. The donor base is getting smaller. Meanwhile, the need for blood remains the same—every day, blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, surgery and transplant patients, and those receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood and platelet donations every day for patients at about 2,600 hospitals and transfusion centers around the country.
Last week, the Red Cross launched its Missing Types campaign, to raise awareness for the need for blood donors to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients in need.
“I always think about how my donation now can help someone tomorrow, or in two months. That could be someone in my family, or one of my friends or co-workers,” said King. “If you needed blood, wouldn’t you want to make sure it was there? I know my blood will help someone and the person who gets my blood might not even realize they need it right now.”
Donors with types O, A negative and B negative blood like Chef Patton, who is O negative, are asked to give Power Red donations, which collect a concentrated dose of red blood cells during a donation, maximizing its impact. Platelet donations, often needed by cancer patients, are also in high demand.
“I don’t get to donate as often, but I feel like it goes further,” explains Chef Patton. “Being a universal donor, I feel like to should give whenever I can.”
Employees and guests at Hyatt Regency Dallas will be asked to step up and give at a blood drive at the hotel on Friday, June 29 between 9 AM – 3 PM. Another blood drive will be held at our sister hotel, Grand Hyatt DFW at the airport on August 8.
“I’d ask our associates and guests to do their part. It’s an easy process and it’s not scary at all. The people there make it as painless as possible. If you are able to give, there’s no reason not to,” said Chef Patton.
Ready to save the day? Sign up for an appointment to give blood at Hyatt Regency Dallas on Friday, June 29 at RedCrossBlood.org using sponsor code Hyatt Women, or find a blood drive near you!