Thank you. Two simple words that when put together can mean so much.
In the first minute of my presentation, three people will be diagnosed with cancer. In this very same minute, 30 people will need a blood product. On a macro scale, these are staggering numbers.
For those who are fortunate to survive to see another day, blood transfusions are lifelines. A blood transfusion can give them a strength to keep fighting, and even the strength to defeat the enemy.
The cancer patients use nearly 1/4 of the blood supply, more than patients fighting any other disease.
Here’s the good news. 38% of the US population is eligible to donate blood. That is pretty close to 122 million people. Whole blood can be donated 6 times a year, Plasma can be donated 12 times a year and Platelets can be donated 26 times a year. With these kinds of numbers, you may be thinking, ‘the cup is overflowing”.
Here is the heart-breaking news, only 3% of Americans will donate blood in a given year. This is year will not be any different.
Kaden is a happy, energetic 2-year-old who loves truck rides, pineapple, and pepperoni pizza and playing in the park with his siblings. In May of 2019, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer.
Just like any other cancer patient he had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments. These treatments come with pernicious side effects; bleeding, bruising, difficulties in breathing, vomiting, neuropathy, diarrhea, lower blood cell counts, and damaged cells in the bone marrow. Damaged bone marrow is not capable of making platelets. That increases the risk of infections.
Transfusions blood and platelets gave Kaden the fighting chance to see another day, but also the hope and healing he richly deserved. The generosity of the strangers helped to keep that family together.
Medical conditions and emergencies don't stop for the holidays or pandemics. What if I tell you that, 4.5 million Americans will die each year without lifesaving blood transfusions?
On a beautiful day in Fall, Carrie and her husband arrived at the hospital for a scheduled delivery induction. They were excited to meet their new little boy. Suddenly, she was rushed for an emergency cesarean section. Doctors delivered their healthy baby boy, but during the C-section, Carrie experienced complications, resulting in rapid blood loss. After a two-hour surgery, she was exhausted but felt fine waiting in recovery. A short time later, her bed was soaked with blood and she was in stage 4 shock. Carrie underwent another series of surgeries. During her surgeries, Carrie received more than 17 blood products, including whole blood, red blood cells, plasma, and platelets.
That’s what saved her life. The strangers’ generosities gave her the chance to raise her son. The strangers’ generosities gave the little boy the opportunity to grow up with his mother. The strangers’ generosities kept that family together.
When you donate, you give hope and healing to those who face life and death challenges.
If all blood donors gave three times a year, blood shortages would be a rare event. If only one more percent of all Americans would give blood, blood shortages would disappear for the foreseeable future.
A patient is forced to pass up a lifesaving organ because compatible blood is not available to support the transplant. The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf when it's needed by a patient.
There is no substitute for human blood.
Bring life back to power. Make blood donation your responsibility.
My name is Manuja Ranasinghe. I’m a Platelets & Plasma donor. Thank You.