Since 1970, January has been known as National Blood Donor Month. It's a time when blood organizations like the American Red Cross pay tribute to the nearly 11 million people who give blood each year, and encourage others to start the New Year off right by coming to give the gift of life.
I have given blood before, and while, no, it's not the most fun way to spend an hour, it's a great way to give back that doesn't cost anything and is actually self-beneficial.
(Did you know...doctors recommend giving blood regularly because doing so is known to decrease risk of cardiovascular events, as well as helping with early detection of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.)
January is a challenging time for blood donation because of weather and busy post-holiday schedules can make it difficult for blood donors to keep appointments.
This January, our country is in special need of blood as the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy which recently plagued our nation's east coast led to the cancellation of hundreds of Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortage of blood and platelets that are much needed.
Regardless of the time of year, hospital patients nationwide need about 44,000 blood donations daily for cancer care, surgeries, and the treatment of serious diseases and trauma.
Donating blood is a great way to make a lifetime of difference in just a little more than an hour's worth of your time.
Community members can also contribute to the blood supply by organizing or volunteering at a blood drive, or by suggesting blood donation to their family and friends.
For more information about donating blood or to find
a donation center near you, visit www.redcrossblood.org.