For MLK Day – On Giving Blood, and Maybe Being the Match
January is National Blood Donor Month. For those who can give, it’s never too late; the need is year-round.
A few years back, I wrote on the value of donating blood, as many will do today to honor the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When I was practicing hematology I wasn’t aware of this practice, which now seems integrated with nationwide MLK National Day of Service events. The Orlando Sentinel published an article linking blood donation with MLK on January 14 1988.
Here are some resources for people who’d like to know more about giving blood:
The AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks, covers transfusions and related therapies.
America’s Blood Centers – a large network of non-profit community blood centers.
The New York Blood Center – a terrific local resource for my neighbors, a pioneer in blood banking and resources for patients worldwide.
For those who’d consider bone marrow donation, the National Marrow Donor Program helps patients with leukemia and other conditions find matching bone marrow donors. The agency provides, also, financial assistance to some who can’t afford needed transplants.
Today, I learned that Robin Roberts, the GMA anchor who has been through breast cancer treatment and, subsequently, a bone marrow transplant for a rare blood disorder (MDS), has launched a public service campaign to encourage blood and marrow donors. Each of us can only do what we can. That she is alive and putting her name behind the drive, telling her audience what they can might to do to aid others, is heartening.
As someone who has benefited from the generosity of healthy donors, and the kindness of strangers among those, thank you!