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Blood donors help provide life-saving care to more than 600 people at Aspirus Keweenaw

Just about an hour of your day. That's how little time it takes to help change someone's life with a heroic and generous act--donating blood.

Our nation's blood supply is typically in high demand, so experts say your help is needed. In fact, every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood, including:

• Car crash and burn survivors.
• People having chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
• Those with blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.
• People undergoing surgery.
• Organ transplant recipients.

Christina Asiala, laboratory manager at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, said in the past year, 400 units of red blood cells, 155 units of platelets and 62 units of plasma were administered to patients. Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured. They can only come from volunteer donors.

“This year, blood donors helped provide life-saving care to more than 600 people at Aspirus Keweenaw,” Asiala said. “We cannot thank our volunteer donors enough for their generosity and compassion for wanting to make a positive difference and help save a life.”

On Thursday, Dec. 27, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium is hosting a blood drive from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The drive will be held by the Upper Peninsula Regional Blood Center using their “Bloodmobile.” Both walk-ins and appointments are welcome. You can schedule a donation appointment by calling the hospital laboratory at 337-6550. Refreshments will be provided for donors. A photo ID is required upon donating.

Being a donor is easy

Before you can give blood, there are a few requirements to help protect both donors and recipients. You must be healthy (no illness or fever) and at least 17 years old. (Those 16 and under can sometimes donate with parental consent. During the appointment, you'll answer a few questions about your health and travel history and have a mini-physical that includes a blood pressure, pulse and temperature check. The blood draw often takes less than 10 minutes. 

Aspirus Keweenaw is one of 13 U.P. hospitals that receive blood from the U.P. Regional Blood Center. This is a great way to give back and directly impact those needing blood in our area and the rest of the U.P.

For more information, or to schedule a donation appointment, call the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital Laboratory at 337-6550.

Pictured: In this file photo, medical technologist Melissa Loukus uses advanced automated technology to cross-match a patient's blood in the hospital blood bank. Cross-matching is an important process because it ensures patients receive compatible donor units of blood.