Thankful for the giving of blood

The United Blood Service was in Baker November 15 to collect life saving donations from area residents. Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually does. Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.

Dolores Erlenbush relaxes as she donates her 66th pint of blood. Photos by Angel Wyrwas

 

 

By Angel Wyrwas

The United Blood Service was in Baker November 15 to collect life saving donations from area residents. Although an estimated 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, less than 10 percent of that eligible population actually does. Blood cannot be manufactured – it can only come from generous donors.

That is why Dolores Erlenbush just donated her 66th pint of blood. That is equivalent to 8.25 gallons throughout her life. “I started working these blood drives as a member of the Pink Ladies (now the Hospital Helpers Auxiliary) in the ‘70’s,” said Dolores. “I’ve been donating regularly since 1983. I guess I thought they needed it so why wouldn’t I donate.”

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

Area residents donated 42 units of blood this November drive. “It was a very good day,” said Coordinator Ella Arnell, “but we still had a couple of open slots, they didn’t quite all get filled.” Ella has been the volunteer coordinator for the United Blood Service blood drives in Baker for long enough that she has achieved Gold Coordinator status in the United Blood Service hero wall.

That’s what the United Blood Service’s slogan is about– Find The Hero In You. Their PSA says anyone can be a hero. Your superpower could be donating blood.

“I donate every time they come,” said Dolores. “Once I thought there was an age limit but I found out that you are never too old to donate. I will keep donating blood as long as I can.”

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.69 million people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment. That blood is only available through donations.

“We had quite a few first time donors this drive,” said Ella. “There were a lot of high school students that donated.” Students under the age of eighteen must have written consent of a parent in the state of Montana. Some students donated along side their parents.

Kelsey Miller donates blood for the first time.

United Blood Service even has its own rewards program. Each time you donate you accrue points. Those points can be redeemed for t-shirts, gift cards, pizza, movie tickets, ice cream, etc. “Points do expire after two years,” said Ella, “so use those points if you have had them awhile.” And if you don’t want to use them yourself, there is a place in the rewards program to donate your points.

The blood drive always accepts walk-ins though they may have to wait a while to donate. If waiting is not up your alley, the United Blood Service takes appointments online and you can even speed up the interview portion by completing some of the questions online beforehand. They hold a blood drive in Baker every eight weeks. You can learn more at www.unitedbloodservices.org.

All blood is beneficial. Every blood type is needed. Different components of different blood types serve all matter of needs. Giving blood gives the recipient the chance to be thankful. Giving blood makes someone a hero.

      



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