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Blood donors help provide life-saving care to more than 2,500 Aspirus patients in the U.P.

One hour. That’s how little time it takes to help save someone’s life with a heroic and generous act – donating blood.

A single unit of blood can save as many as three lives. Trauma patients, transfusions for cancer and surgical care, and blood disorders, like sickle cell disease, are the most common uses for blood. And while donations are needed year-round to save lives, in winter, the demand is even greater.

“During the holidays especially, fewer people donate because they’re busy traveling, schedules are hectic and our U.P. winters are less than favorable for driving,” said Christina Asiala, Aspirus Upper Peninsula Regional Director of Laboratory Services. “We also see an increase in winter-related injuries – downhill skiing and snowmobiling accidents, and motor vehicle crashes. As a result, the need for blood increases.”

In the past year, blood donors provided life-saving care to 2,549 patients across Aspirus’ four Upper Peninsula hospitals in Laurium, Ontonagon, Ironwood and Iron River. A total of 2,196 units of red blood cells, 214 units of platelets and 139 units of plasma were administered for different injuries and illnesses. Each part of the blood plays a critical role in helping patients heal and recover.

“We cannot thank our volunteer donors enough for their generosity and compassion for wanting to make a positive difference and help save a life,” Asiala said.

Upcoming blood drives

The Upper Peninsula Regional Blood Center, which supplies blood to 13 hospitals in the U.P., is in critical need of all blood types – O negative and B negative in particular. To help replenish their supply, a series of upcoming blood drives are scheduled for December and January.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium is hosting a blood drive from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The U.P. Regional Blood Center Bloodmobile will be onsite. Both walk-ins and appointments are welcome. To schedule an appointment, call the hospital laboratory at 337-6550. Refreshments will be provided for donors. A photo ID is required upon donating.

For more information about upcoming blood drives, or to set one up, call the U.P. Regional Blood Center at (906) 449-1450 or (800) 491-4483 (GIVE).

Being a donor is easy
You must be healthy (no illness or fever) and at least 17 years old to donate. During the appointment, you’ll answer questions about your health and travel history, and receive a mini-physical to check your blood pressure, pulse and temperature. The blood draw itself takes about 15 minutes.