Two Cents Worth

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Each of us, even if you are not a doctor, is equipped to save lives.

Those who take and update their St. John Ambulance training often are the first responders in emergencies at home and in the workplace. The first class CPR and first aid training, equipment and immediate care they provide can be crucial in saving the life of a heart attack, injury or accident victim.

All of us can take the courses and help save a life. Information, services and training courses are available by going on the St. John Ambulance website.

We can also save lives by donating blood. The next clinic in Tillsonburg is on February 3 and in Norwich on February 27, 2017. Additional information, times, eligibility, to book an appointment, etc. are available by going on the Canadian Blood Services website.

Giving blood is pretty easy. I did it the first time a couple weeks ago. I am a big coward and yet this was not a traumatic experience for me so believe me when I say, if I can do it so can you.

A friend headed out west this week to donate stem cells to her brother. Of all those tested she was the one who was a perfect match and there was no question she would give of herself to save his life.

Years ago I was among people to be tested to help a friend who was suffering with leukemia and needed blood transfusions. A perfect match was found within the family. Morgan needed many blood transfusions because of his early birth and various surgeries he required in his first couple years. I was sorry I was not an adequate donor but the blood bank had what he needed. Without it he might not have lived.

Sometimes we forget how powerful a pint of blood can be unless we have had to deal with it firsthand. I did some research.

When you donate a pint of whole blood it is divided into various components each of which has a particular job to do in our bodies.

Stem cells are immature cells that grow up to be either red or white cells, platelets, etc. They come from the bone marrow. Red blood cells carry oxygen to tissue and remove the carbon dioxide through the lungs. White blood cells fight infections. They are removed from blood donations because of the viruses and bacteria they pick up. Platelets are the clotting agent. Plasma is a liquid that carries nutrients to our tissue and takes waste to the lungs, liver and kidneys to be discarded. It supports our immune system and helps curb excessive bleeding.

Our bodies hold 10.5 pints of blood. Only 15.2 ounces are removed during donation. Each year 100,000 new donors are needed to meet demand. To save the life of a car accident victim 50 units of blood may be needed. Leukemia patients may need eight units per week.

We also need to be aware of the need for organ and tissue donations. Many people die each year waiting. You could save up to eight lives just by signing your driver’s license. More information on organ and tissue donation is available on the Canadian Blood Services website.

Come on, be a hero. 


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