Wake-up Call Red Cross Marks National Blood Donor Month with Coffee Promotion

The statistics speak for themselves. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, meaning more than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day. And — although the stats here are less precise — the vast majority of Americans enjoy coffee.

That’s why the American Red Cross and Dunkin’ Donuts are teaming up in January — National Blood Donor Month — to promote blood donation. Throughout the month, all donors in the Northeast region will receive a coupon for a free pound of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

The Give a Pint, Get a Pound campaign, now in its fourth year, benefits donors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and New York throughout the month. In addition, some local Dunkin’ Donuts are hosting blood drives throughout the month.

“The Give a Pint, Get a Pound campaign helps the Red Cross increase blood collections so that we can meet the daily needs of patients in area hospitals during the winter months,” said Donna Morrissey, director of Communications for the American Red Cross Blood Service, Northeast Division. “The program reflects Dunkin’ Donuts’ commitment to the communities they serve, and we are very appreciative for its ongoing dedication to our lifesaving mission.”

To donate blood during the month of January, call (800) RED-CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org. Area hospitals also operate their own blood banks; call the individual institutions to schedule a donation.

According to the Red Cross, patients in area hospitals need blood every day, and one donation may help save three lives. Because winter is often a challenging time for blood collections due to severe weather and flu season, the Give a Pint, Get a Pound campaign helps boost collections when patients need it most.

To donate blood and platelets through the Red Cross, individuals must be at least 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be in general good health.

Donating blood is a safe procedure. A sterile needle is used only once for each donor and then discarded. Every blood donor is given a mini-physical, checking temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin to ensure it is safe for the donor to give blood. For various health and demographic reasons, only 38{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of the U.S. population is eligible to donate. All donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and other infectious diseases before it can be released to hospitals.

The actual blood donation typically takes between 10 and 15 minutes. Roughly one pint is given during a typical donation; the average adult has about 10 pints of blood in his or her body. The entire process, from arrival to departure, takes about 75 minutes. Information provided to the American Red Cross during the donation process is confidential.

Some blood types are more in demand than others. Only 7{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of people in the U.S. have O-negative blood; they are universal donors, as their blood can be given to people of all blood types. Type O-negative blood is needed in emergency situations before the patient’s blood type is known, and also with newborns who need blood.

Meanwhile, only 3{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of people in the U.S. have AB-positive blood; these are universal donors of plasma, which is often used in emergencies, for newborns, and for patients requiring massive transfusions.

About 20{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of blood donations to the Red Cross are collected at fixed donor centers, and the other 80{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} are collected at mobile blood drives set up by community organizations, high schools and colleges, places of worship, military installations, or companies — like Dunkin’ Donuts.

The Give a Pint, Get a Pound campaign was a success last year, helping the Red Cross exceed blood-collection goals with more than 90,000 pints donated. Over the past three years, Dunkin’ Donuts has provided more than 100,000 pounds of coffee to presenting donors, said Karen Raskopf, senior vice president of Communications at Dunkin’ Brands and co-chair of the Dunkin’ Donuts & Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is proud to partner with the American Red Cross once again,” she said, “to provide our coffee as a gift to those who give blood. We encourage all eligible blood donors to give blood and help those in need in our communities.”

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