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Donating Blood—Four Important Reasons Why You Should

Posted February 09, 2023 by Michael J. Tan, MD, FACP, FIDSA, Assistant Medical Director

Red heart

The United States is experiencing a national blood supply shortage due to significant disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic. So, roll up your sleeves to help those in need. We need you!

Donating blood is a life-saving gift. Your blood donation can save the lives of up to three people, according to the American Red Cross. Healthcare providers use blood donations daily for surgery and cancer patients, organ transplant recipients and trauma patients — both young and old. It’s estimated just one trauma patient could need up to 100 units of blood.

SummaCare strongly encourages everyone who can donate blood to do so. There is always a need for donors. Blood has a short shelf life, so maintaining an adequate supply is an ongoing challenge. You can give blood up to six times a year — every 56 days — but even just a few times will make a difference.

Still not convinced? Here are four more reasons to donate this year.

  1. Helping someone else benefits you, too. Research has found that helping others can boost your mood, reduce stress and connect you to others, positively impacting your physical and emotional well-being.
  2. You get a free health checkup. Before donating blood, a nurse will perform a brief medical history and quick physical to check your hemoglobin levels and vital signs, including your pulse and blood pressure. Your blood also is tested for several diseases, including hepatitis, HIV and syphilis.
  3. Every blood type is needed. No matter what your blood type is, it is needed and valuable — and vital to saving a life. If you have a common blood type, there is a higher demand for it and, therefore, a greater need for donors. If you have a less common blood type, there are fewer donors available to give, making it in short supply.
  4. You may need a blood donation in the future. It’s a fact that every two seconds, someone in this country needs blood, according to the American Red Cross. Choose to give blood because there may come a day when you need blood one day.

What you can expect when donating blood

Donating blood is easy and the process from start to finish only takes about one hour. First, you’ll need to register to verify your identification and answer a few questions about your health and travel history. Afterward, a brief health exam will be performed to check your vital signs and hemoglobin and then you’ll do the donation itself, which takes about 10 minutes. 

Afterward, you’ll need to stay for a few minutes to give your body time to adjust. The good news is a snack and drink are almost always provided.

Sign up today to donate blood

The American Red Cross is sponsoring a series of blood drives to aid in the nationwide shortage of blood supplies. You can donate at Summa Health's Akron Campus, or visit and enter your zip code to find other donation sites to schedule an appointment that works for you.

Give the gift of life. It’s a quick and easy thing to do but can make a huge difference in the lives of others.