The time to give blood is right meow, says Coby the cat.
“Happy 2019, humans! Your furry friends want you to start your new year off on the right foot by becoming a life-saver through the simple act of donating blood,” the Instagram-famous spokescat for Vitalant said. “We love you and need our best friends around.”
Formerly known as LifeShare Community Blood Services, Vitalant provides blood to the hospitals that serve Lorain County’s 300,000 residents.
There is a constant need for donations. In fact, nearly 110 blood donations are needed each day to meet the needs of people throughout Northeast Ohio, according to Vitalant president and CEO Dave Green.
But January — which is National Blood Donor Month — is one of the most difficult times of the year for blood drives.
Winter weather can cause drives to be canceled. And cold and flu season can make donors too sick to give.
“National Blood Donor Month is a critical time to donate and we hope that people of all ages will start the new year by realizing their life-transforming potential of giving blood,” Green said.
Statistics show younger people need to become more involved as donors. Nearly 60 percent of blood donations come from people over 40 and nearly 45 percent come from people older than 50.
“People under 40 aren’t donating like generations before them, so we’re teaming up with animals to Save the Humans,” Vitalant’s website says. “When you donate blood, it doesn’t just help people during disasters. From surgery to fighting cancer to giving birth, blood donations are used to save around 12,000 lives a day. A lot of the medical care we take for granted wouldn’t exist without blood donations.”
Almost 40 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood. The trouble is that less than 10 percent do.
And here’s the sticker: If all blood donors gave three times per year, shortages could be completely eliminated.
Donors must be at least 16 years old (minors must have permission from a parent or guardian), weigh 110 pounds or more, and be in good health. There are additional height and weight requirements for people ages 22 and younger.
Donating takes about 10 minutes.
The nearest place to give blood is at 710 Leona St., Elyria. While walk-ins are accepted, appointments are strongly encouraged — call 440-322-5700.