Why not make a resolution to start a new habit in 2016: Give the gift of life, often.
Blood is traditionally in short supply during the winter months due to the holidays, travel schedules, inclement weather and illness. January, in particular, is a difficult month for blood centers to collect blood donations, and a reduction in turnout can put the nation’s blood inventory at a critical low.
Baystate Medical Center is joining hundreds of blood centers across the country in encouraging the public to become regular blood donors beginning this January as a tie-in to National Blood Donor Month.
“By donating blood you will become a hero to someone by making sure there is blood on our shelves when a patient desperately needs it. With just one donation – and blood is something that most people can spare – you could help save more than one life,” said Dr. Chester Andrzejewski, medical director, Transfusion Medicine Services, Baystate Medical Center.
Every day in America, about 41,000 units of blood are needed in hospitals and emergency treatment facilities for patients with cancer and other diseases, for organ transplant recipients, and to help save the lives of accident victims. But, while some 38 percent of the American population is believed to be eligible to donate blood, less than 10 percent actually do.
At Baystate Health, 100 percent of all blood and platelet donations made to its Blood Donor Program are used locally in western Massachusetts. Each year at Baystate, over 5,800 patients receive more than 23,000 transfusions of blood products.
Donors must be at least age 17, weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good health, and have a photo ID. Donors are able to give blood every eight weeks.
Currently at Baystate Medical Center and around the country there is an urgent need for new platelet donors. Platelets are important in the control of bleeding and are generally used in patients with leukemia and other forms of cancer, open heart surgery patients, transplant patients, and some trauma patients. Since they must be used within five days, maintaining an adequate supply is always a challenge. Baystate’s Blood Donor Center now has new, state-of-the-art plateletpheresis machines called Trimas that are faster, provide a better end product, and use only one needle.
The Blood Donor Center at Baystate Medical Center is located in the hospital’s Daly Building at 759 Chestnut St. in Springfield. Hours are Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m. Free valet parking is available at the Daly entrance.
At Baystate Noble Hospital, the Blood Donor Room is located on the first floor of the hospital located on 115 West Silver St. in Westfield. It will be open on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Appointments and information are available by calling 413-794-4600.
The public can also participate in one of the many blood drives during January sponsored by Baystate Medical Center’s Blood Donor Center.
Baystate’s Blood Donor Mobile will be at the following locations in January:
Jan. 11 – Chicopee Electric, 725 Front Street, Chicopee, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 13 – Medtronic/Covidien, 2 Ludlow Park Dr., Chicopee, from Noon to 4 p.m.
Jan. 14 – Greater Springfield Senior Services, 66 Industry Avenue, Springfield, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jan. 15 – Holyoke Community Charter School, 2200 Northampton St., Holyoke, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jan. 16 – BJ’s, 650 Memorial Drive, Chicopee, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 19 – Big Y Wellness Event at the Big Y, 67 Prospect Hill Rd., East Windsor, CT, from 1 to 6 p.m.
Jan. 20 – Holyoke Community Charter School, 2200 Northampton St, Holyoke, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jan. 21 – Baystate Urgent Care, 325 King St., Northampton, also sponsored by Greenfield Savings Bank, from 1-6 p.m.
Jan. 22 – New England Orthopedics, 300 Birnie Avenue, Springfield, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jan. 23 – Big E’s Supermarket, 11 Union Street, Easthampton, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Jan. 25 – Microtek, 2070 Westover Rd., Chicopee, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Jan. 26 – Porter and Chester Institute, 134 Dulong Circle, Chicopee, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 27 – TBD
Jan. 28 – Mestek, 260 North Elm Street, Westfield, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Jan. 29 – Holyoke Community College, 303 Homestead Avenue, Holyoke, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Each eligible donor at the January community blood drives can select one from among 10 “Pick Your Plastic” gift cards for groceries, shopping, coffee and more.
To book an appointment at one of the blood drives, call 413-794-4600. Walk-ins are also welcome. Donors with appointments will be seen first.