Be a part of the spring change by giving blood

OSCEOLA COUNTY — As the snow melts and spring rains bring fresh flowers, green grass and warmer weather, the American Red Cross encourages area residents to be a part of change, too.

Spring is about rejuvenation and research studies show that the increase in temperature is a major mood booster.

“The need for blood remains constant, especially as the weather becomes warmer,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the American Red Cross, Great Lakes Blood Services. “A single blood donation can save more than one life, so as the season changes, allow some change within yourself by getting into the habit of donating blood.”

While spring lasts for a few months, donating blood only takes a fraction of that time; the actual donation process only takes about eight to 12 minutes. A healthy donor can donate red blood cells every 56 days and platelets can be given every seven days, but no more than 24 times in one year. According to Kulman, each weekday, the Great Lakes Blood Services Region needs to have at least 650 blood donors to help meet the need of patients in the hospitals we serve.

“Strong donor turnout in April and May can give us good momentum into summer," Kulman said. "With only eight percent of eligible individuals donating blood each year, there’s great potential for solid collections during spring."

Approximately 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood. But only 8 percent of those eligible – or 3 percent of the general population – donates blood each year.

Every day, patients across the U.S. need an average of 44,000 units of red blood cells. That’s about 16-million donations transfused to 5 million patients each year.

There are many ways to become involved with the mission of the American Red Cross. To donate blood or find other opportunities contact the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here is a list of upcoming blood drives in Osceola and Mecosta counties:

n From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, at the Ferris State University West Campus Community Center, 1414 Family Drive in Big Rapids

  • From 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, at Pine River High School, 17445 Pine River School Road, LeRoy
  • From 11:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Friday, April 18 at Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, 435 N. Michigan Ave. in Big Rapids
  • From 8 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Thursday April 24, at Morley Stanwood High School, 4700 Northland Drive in Morley
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Monday, April 28, at Big Rapids First United Methodist Church, 304 Elm St. in Big Rapids
  • From 1 to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29, at the Stanwood Eagles, 7200 Stanwood Road in Stanwood
  • From noon to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30, at the Evart United Methodist Church, 619 Cherry St. in Evart