Each and every one of us has driven past a “Blood Drive” sign in our local community; yet, only a small number of us actually give blood on a regular basis. The reasons why we might not want to donate are our own. We worry it might hurt, cause discomfort, or that it will take up too much time. While these fears are valid, they are not necessarily true.
Blood is constantly in high demand everywhere in the United States. A single trauma victim may need up to 40 (or more!) units of blood, and blood is needed for patients of all ages, for all kinds of injuries and ailments. Human blood cannot be substituted, and the need for it may arise at any time. These reasons (and others) are why it is so important for there to be a constant supply of blood.
“Within a community as tight-knit and small as ours, this need can become even more vital. A single blood donation can save up to three lives, and in a place like Hunterdon County, this is no small feat,” stated Cathy Conroy, Blood Donor Recruiter at Hunterdon Medical Center. The Wilson family (Lloyd, Ken, and Erich), has three generations of regular blood donors. As a result, the Wilsons have saved hundreds of lives. Lloyd Wilson began his donation journey in 1953, soon after Hunterdon Medical Center opened its doors. “I wanted to help people and save a life,” stated Lloyd Wilson, a task which he has accomplished many times over. In his many years of donating blood, Lloyd has given over 18 gallons to those in need. Ken Wilson, son of Lloyd and father of Erich, understands the importance of blood donation as well. He says, “I started donating at age 18, mostly because my father did it,” but now he donates because he knows it helps his community. Ken has donated over 18 gallons and Erich has donated 2 gallons of blood to Hunterdon Medical Center.
For those of us who are nervous about the prospect of donating blood for some of the reasons previously mentioned, Ken assures that “donating is virtually painless, and doesn’t take very long.” In fact, the actual process of donating only takes about 8-10 minutes. The entire process may take about 45 minutes to an hour, including registration. Cathy Conroy went on to say, “Donating blood is relatively quick, and absolutely safe. The pain is minimal, and the rewards are endless. Not only do you get free cookies and juice, but most of all you get the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped others.”
You never know when you may need blood, or when someone you love may need it. Donating regularly can help ensure that our community is never short on blood. To be eligible to donate blood a person must be at least 17 years of age, be in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds. “We are always in need of donors to keep up with our supply. I also encourage businesses to have a blood drive at the hospital where their employees can donate as a group,” stated Cathy Conroy.
Call today to schedule your appointment to donate blood (908) 788-6405 or learn more by visitingwww.hunterdonhealthcare.org.
Caption left to right: Ken, Lloyd and Erich Wilson pictured after donating blood at Hunterdon Medical Center’s Blood Bank.