Upper Valley in Need of Blood Donations

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POSTED: Monday, January 3, 2011 - 6:45pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 9:27am

January is National Blood Donor Month and several residents in the Upper Valley have come to United Blood Services to give their blood to those in need.

"My family was in a car accident a couple of years ago and they needed blood, they needed a lot of blood. So I want to help give back to those that are in that situation as well," said Jessa Guerra, Blood Donor.

"I sort of been donating since I was in college I guess, I just see it as being a small way you can help out that ends up being a big help in the end," said Abel Garza, Blood Donor.

To donate blood, donors must go through a quick interview to make sure they qualify and their blood is safe. Then it only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to give blood.

And this time of year there is a growing need.

"Right into the December holiday's we don't get as many donations and January typically has the highest volume, the highest usage. So we need donors to come in and donate," said Frank Esparaza, United Blood Services Center Director.

About one pint of blood is taken during a regular donation and that one pint of blood alone can save three lives.

All types of blood are needed, but what is in high demand is O negative blood. It is the universal donor type and anyone that comes in can receive O negative blood.

A single person can donate blood every eight weeks, which is six times a year.

United Blood Services said that if everyone donated blood three times a year, there wouldn't be blood shortages.

"I believe everyone should go through the experience at least the once. Then they should pass judgment on it," said Garza.

The Rio Grande Valley needs 175 pints of blood daily to cover their 17 hospitals. And unfortunately there is no other substitute in the world for blood.

"Blood is unique, it's made by the human body and it's made to save the lives of someone else. And you can replace it almost immediately, so give that donation to save someone's life," said Esparaza.

United Blood Services hopes everyone will make a New Year's resolution to donate at lease three times a year, because giving blood saves lives everyday.

If you're interested in donating blood, the United Blood Services is having a Battle for Blood this weekend at all Valley Malls. You can donate from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

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