VOL. 126 | NO. 1 | Monday, January 3, 2011
Giving a Gift That Saves Lives
Last week, I offered a suggestion for a New Year’s resolution, which was to be more intentional about picking up trash and motivating others to help clean up our city, as much for beautification as for pride. This week, let us look at adding a resolution that helps save lives.
Recently, at one of our Female Business Leader Lunches with the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, Susan Berry-Buckley, president and CEO of Lifeblood, treated us to some startling statistics. Approximately 90 percent of everyone who lives here in the Mid-South will need a blood transfusion before they turn 70. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of the population actually donates.
Out of the 100,000 units of blood needed annually, only about half, or 55,000 units, come from our local market. The rest has to be shipped in from surrounding communities. Another interesting statistic she highlighted was that about 25 percent of Lifeblood’s annual donation comes from high school students through school blood drives, which means summers are slower.
As a city and as a larger community, I believe our goal should always be to help each other as citizens, while focusing efforts to be as self-sufficient as a group, as possible. Knowing half of our needed blood must come from outside sources makes it an interesting sustainability challenge.
Personally, I know many who owe their life to the blessing of donated blood. Blood transfusions save thousands of lives in the Mid-South each year. These are accident victims, premature babies, cancer patients, transplant recipients, heart surgery patients and people with blood disorders like Sickle Cell Anemia. These are our family, friends and co-workers.
Donating blood is another easy way you can give back and build it into the normal routine of your life. You can donate individually at different donation centers or schedule a blood drive at your office. There are a few restrictions, but you can donate every eight weeks.
At Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance, we schedule a blood drive once or twice a year and designate a few hours where employees can come into the conference room and donate. About two years ago, when one of our company’s founders, John Pitts, was ill, we donated many times and just about everyone in the office contributed, which was a tremendous experience.
Luckily, it does not take much to turn the needle closer to self-sustainability. Susan mentioned that if current contributors increased their level to once more a year, we will be well on our way. What if we each encouraged our companies to help with the effort or simply asked one or two friends to join us for quick lunchtime donation? We might just be saving a friend or family member’s life in the process.
Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb & Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.