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When you think about the month of January, american-red-cross-lions-clubyou likely think about one or more of the following topics: staying warm on cold winter days, making (and possibly breaking!) New Year’s Resolutions or celebrating the life of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., on the anniversary of his birth. While these are all common themes, you may have missed another important occasion – National Blood Donor Month.

Since 1970, the first month of the year has been designated as National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and for a good reason. As you know, January is a bit of an unusual month, it is a time for getting back into normal routines after holiday celebrations and hibernating in our warm, cozy homes, which is why blood donors are typically in short supply. The American Red Cross has taken advantage of this opportunity by encouraging adults of all ages to consider becoming blood donors.

Every two seconds, someone in the United States is in need of blood. Just imagine in the time you have taken to read this post, 15 people will have needed the gift of blood. Unfortunately, although an estimated 38 percent of the country’s population is eligible to give blood at any given time, less than 10 percent actually donate. Who’s ready to change that number?

If you’ve never donated blood before you might think the process for getting started may be difficult, but becoming a donor is quite simple. Just follow this easy 5-step process:

  1. Find a blood drive.
    Blood drives are happening all over the state, but you can find one nearest to you by visiting the American Red Cross Blood Drive Locator.
  2. Register
    On the day of your blood donation, you will register with staff and volunteers to review your eligibility and donation information. Be sure to bring a government-issued ID. Other photo IDs are also accepted.
  3. Review medical history
    After checking in, you will receive a mini physical from a registered technician who will take your temperature, pulse, blood pressure and hemoglobin level. He or she will also ask you about travel and medical history in a private setting.
  4. Donate
    Next, it’s time for the blood donation. Estimated time is between 8 and 10 minutes.
  5. Enjoy refreshments
    After donating, you will have the chance to raise your blood sugar back up to normal settings with a snack or beverage. (Who isn’t always looking for a valid excuse to enjoy a cookie?)

And that’s all there is to it! Most donors will be in and out in under an hour, and their donation can help up to 3 people. How often can you make a difference like that?

This January, think about taking some time out of your busy schedule to become a blood donor. Although it may be a simple task, it’s one that definitely should never be discounted. Thank you so much for your consideration, and for the gift of blood.

Happy National Blood Donor Month from Lions Pride!