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Red Cross Celebrates National Blood Donor Month

Every January since 1970, the Red Cross has observed National Blood Donor Month as a way to increase blood and platelet donations throughout the winter. Thanks to inclement weather conditions and seasonal illnesses such as the flu, winter is one of the most difficult seasons for the organization to collect enough donations to meet patient needs.

“At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, our faith-based mission guides us to serve the world’s vulnerable populations,” said President Larry Smith. “We recognize the lifesaving contribution blood donors make to our health care system, and that’s why we are proud to observe National Blood Donor Month. Many of our communities host blood drives throughout the year, and we encourage our teams and all healthy donors to roll up their sleeves and make a donation this season.”

The Basics of Blood Donation
People give blood for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a friend or family member suggests it, or perhaps they recognize someone they care about may one day need a donation. Others simply see it as the right thing to do.

Whatever your reason, the process for giving blood is simple, and makes a big impact and helps save lives. Plus, donating blood is a good opportunity for you to have some of your vitals checked in what the Red Cross calls a “mini physical”—including your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature and hemoglobin.

If you’re a first-time donor, there are several things you can do to prepare for your blood donation appointment. The Red Cross recommends you drink plenty of fluids on the day of your donation, and wear something comfortable. Be sure to bring a list of any medications you are taking as well as an ID card.

When you arrive at your appointment, volunteers will sign you in, and you will answer some questions about your health history. Then the administrator will conduct the “mini physical” to check your vitals and a blood sample. The actual donation takes about 10 minutes, during which you will be seated comfortably.

After a pint of blood has been collected, you should have a snack and something to drink before you leave, and then you can enjoy the feeling of doing something good to help save lives.

Sign Up for a Blood Drive Today
The Red Cross hosts blood drives regularly all over the country. Many of our Bethesda Senior Living Communities will host a donation session in the coming weeks. In addition to our teams, friends and family of our residents are welcome to sign up and join us. For a list of donation schedules, visit one of our communities today and find the activity calendar in the Quick Links section at the bottom of the page.

For more information or to find a donation center near you, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org. Donors can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, which is free and available for download now via app stores, the Red Cross website or by texting BLOODAPP to 90999.