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Release: Jan. 7, 2000

January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Every three seconds, someone needs blood. Each year four million Americans receive a blood transfusion. About 32,000 units of this vital resource are used every day. Yet recent projections by the National Blood Data Resource Center show that the demand for donated blood could outstrip the supply in 2000 if donations do not increase.

That's why the DeGowin Blood Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is encouraging everyone to consider being a blood or platelet donor. January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month. This year's theme is "2,000 Reasons to Give Blood." Blood banks across the nation are hoping that more people will get into the habit of donating blood or platelets.

"The need for blood and platelets is constant. We need volunteers to donate blood and platelets year round," said Ronald Strauss, M.D., medical director of the DeGowin Blood Center. "If all people who are eligible to donate would do so on a regular basis, even just once or twice a year, all of our needs for donated blood would be met and the shortages we are facing would be a thing of the past."

Donated blood is used to treat trauma patients and for transfusion during surgery. Patients receiving treatment for leukemia and other cancers, as well as a wide range of other diseases, are often treated with donated platelets.

"Because we serve so many patients, all of the blood and platelets that we collect here are used locally," Strauss said. "So when people donate here, they are literally helping their friends, their neighbors, members of their own families, possibly even themselves."

Young people are especially encouraged to donate blood and platelets. For more information on becoming a blood or platelet donor, contact the DeGowin Blood Center at (319) 356-2058.