The Blood Center
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In the Wake of Tragedy

Posted by Amanda Chittenden on April 16, 2013 4:14 PM

The bombings during the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas have sent shockwaves across our country and the world. And in the midst of these recent tragedies the true human spirit is revealed. In Boston, there are pictures showing the first responders and ordinary citizens running toward the danger to assist the injured. There are stories of racers running from the finish line to the hospital to donate blood for the wounded. And in Texas, people waited for hours to donate blood to help those injured in the explosion. It is among our first impulses when disaster strikes: to rush to donate blood. 

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster", I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world. ~Mr. Rogers

Here at The Blood Center we have received calls from people asking how they could help the people affected by these tragedies. We answer them by reminding them that we must always be prepared for unexpected events such as the explosion in West, TX, the bombings in Boston on Monday, and the charter bus crash also in Texas last week by having a stable community blood supply. The best way to help people injured in tragic or unexpected events is to have the blood readily available as soon as they need it. The donations that come in the wake of the tragedy help to replenish what was used to help in the immediate aftermath. Also, remember that there are patients each day going through their own personal tragedies and crises that rely on the generosity of strangers to provide them with the lifesaving blood they need. 

Blood that is needed the day of a disaster has to already have been donated, which is why it's critical to donate blood year round.~ Billy Weales, President and CEO of The Blood Center.

While The Blood Center has not been asked to send any blood or blood components to Boston or Texas, we stand ready to help when the call comes in. And we know that our donors will generously answer the call to help those in need because they are the helpers that Mr. Rogers’ mother spoke of. 
So, like an emergency room of a hospital, The Blood Center must be prepared to respond to patient emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. One simple blood donation can save up to three lives right here in our community. The Blood Center must collect between 300 to 350 units of blood every day to maintain a stable community blood supply. The Blood Center encourages people to become regular donors by donating blood every 56 days. 

Donors must:
1. be in good health;
2. weigh a minimum of 110 pounds; 
3. be at least 17 years of age to donate blood. Sixteen year olds can now donate; they must weigh at least 130 pounds and have signed TBC parental consent form. 
4. have a picture I.D.
5. Donors are encouraged to eat a healthful meal and drink plenty of fluids before and after donating. 

The Blood Center is a non-profit community service dedicated to providing blood and blood components to patients throughout Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi.