Happy New Year, Happy National Blood Donor Month

January 7, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Photo courtesy of Melissa Dalkon

Photo courtesy of Melissa Balkon

We’d like to thank all of the caring blood donors who donated over the holidays. By the time January rolls around, blood centers are often grappling with post-holiday shortages. Already this month, Stanford Blood Center has a critical need for type O-positive donors, and an immediate need for all Rh-negative (O-, A-, B-, AB-) donors.

Last year, we experienced a serious and ongoing shortage after the winter holidays, because so many regular donors were sick and unable to keep their appointments. We are hopeful that blood donors can help out as soon as possible so that we can prevent an ongoing shortage this year.

For many years, blood centers around the country have faced similar shortages in January, whether because of sickness, winter weather, or busy post-holiday schedules. That is why, in 1970, January was designated National Blood Donor Month — to honor people who give blood, and encourage more people to think about becoming donors at a time when the need is often great.

Without our generous blood donors, we could not help our local hospitals keep up with patient needs. We appreciate our donors year-round, but January is an important time for us to re-connect with our donors and share some important messages. We depend on our donors to keep their appointments whenever possible, but especially during the winter flu season, when so many donors are forced to cancel because of the weather, or because they are under the weather. You can also help out by organizing blood donation drives, or suggesting that your family and friends become blood donors, too. We are always looking for new groups to organize center blood drives (small clubs or groups of family, colleagues, or friends who visit one of our centers and donate blood together).

We also have special events lined up for our donors this month, which you’ll be able to learn about through this blog. We look forward to January 30, when Stanford University School of Medicine Dean Lloyd B. Minor, MD, will speak at Café Scientifique. And, our Give Good campaign continues through January 12, so if you couldn’t make it in to donate over the holidays, you have a little more time to come in and donate blood and help out our furry friends at Humane Society Silicon Valley at the same time.

We have an exciting year ahead, with new events and community partnerships and updates to our website that we’ll be unveiling soon. We thank our blood donors for their support, and we invite potential blood donors in our community to learn more about our work and consider becoming a blood donor. Happy New Year!