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July 19, 2013

OUR VIEW: Blood drives see summer slump

By the time you’ve finished reading this editorial (assuming you’re an average reader who takes in 250 words per minute), 60 people will have needed a blood transfusion, give or take.

That’s because every 2 seconds someone needs one. You can’t hardly start and stop a timer in 2 seconds, but in that time, someone’s life is on the line. Another 2 seconds, another life.

Take a moment and think about that number in a context greater than the time it takes to read today’s paper. How many blood transfusions are needed every day? Every week? Every year?

We haven’t put a pencil to the math, but those will be some big numbers. Shocking numbers. And when you think of the many lives behind those numbers, they become scary.

What if one of those numbers was someone you loved? Statistically, it’s likely that the lives of several people reading these words depend on blood donations. What if one of those lives was yours?

It might not be you today, and it might not be your loved one tomorrow, but eventually someone you know and love will be on the receiving end of a blood transfusion.

But what if the blood you needed wasn’t available?

What if it was because too few people donated?

What if too many people got wrapped up in their summers and their vacations and put donating blood on the back burner until the fall arrives?

That last one isn’t a what if. It’s actually a reality.

Nationwide, donations to the American Red Cross were down 10 percent in June, resulting in about 50,000 less donations than expected. A nice chunk of that is because high school and college students make up 20 percent of Red Cross donations. With school out, those donations aren’t happening.

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