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Summary: Donating blood is a wonderful act of caring. It is “brotherly love” put in practice. But the greatest gift of blood ever made occurred on Calvary.

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GIVING THE GIFT OF LIFE

And the LORD said, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

Blood donation drives challenge us with the slogan “Give the Gift of Life!” The slogan is correct according to Scripture. As we think of the call to "give the gift of life" on the physical level, let us observe how our text impacts the spiritual life of every one of us.

Donating blood is a wonderful act of caring. It is an act of compassion. It is “brotherly love” put in practice. Not everyone can donate blood for a variety of reasons, but those who can give should give because the need is so great and is never-ending.

Before you attempt to donate, consult your family doctor for his recommendation as to if you should donate and the extent he would suggest.

I have selected twenty-five interesting facts regarding blood donation that can be viewed in full detail on the American Red Cross website.

They are:

1.) Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood

2.) More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day

3.) One out of every 10 people admitted in a hospital needs blood

4.) Total blood transfusions in a given year: 14 million (2001)

5.) The average red blood cell transfusion is approximately 3 pints

6.) The blood type most often requested by hospitals is Type O

7.) The blood used in an emergency is already on the shelves before the event occurs

8.) Sickle cell disease affects more than 80,000 people in the U.S., 98% of whom are African American. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives

9.) More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.

10.) A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood.

11.) The number of blood donations collected in the U.S. in a year: 15 million (2001)

12.) The number of blood donors in the U.S. in a year: 8 million (2001)

13.) The number of patients who receive blood in the U.S. in a year: 4.9 million (2001)

14.) Approximately 60% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood — only 5% do in a given year

15.) Blood cannot be manufactured — it can only come from generous donors

16.) Whole blood can be processed into red cells, platelets, plasma, and cryoprecipitate. The total number of units of all of these components transfused in a year is 29 million (2001)

17.) It is possible to donate specifically only platelets or plasma. This process is called apheresis

18.) Most donated red blood cells must be used within 42 days of collection

19.) Donated platelets must be used within 5 days of collection — new donations are constantly needed

20.) Healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets. The body will replenish the elements given during a blood donation -some in a matter of hours, and others in a matter of weeks

21.) One donation can help save the lives of up to 3 people


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