Give the gift of life: donate blood | Editorial

There is no substitute for blood. It cannot be manufactured in a factory or created in a laboratory by scientists. Blood is one of the few life-saving measures that can only be given organically from one person to another.

So in this incredibly giving community we call home, we’re wondering why islanders have stopped donating blood.

The average turnout at the Orcas Lions Club blood drives in Eastsound is 80 or more. In March that tally was at 59, and in June it dropped to 54. What’s going on?

The Lions Club has assisted the Puget Sound Blood Center for more than a decade, doing local publicity as well as volunteering to register donors and staffing the “canteen” during five drives on Orcas per year.

The Lions’ Club enjoys a friendly competition with San Juan Island, often beating their turnout.  The record number for Orcas is 110 donors – and one of those generous people will soon get his “10-gallon pin” in recognition for his donation efforts.

According to the Red Cross, every two seconds one person in America needs blood, which breaks down to more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day.

Various diseases require regular transfusions. For instance, sickle cell disease affects more than 70,000 people in the U.S. About 1,000 babies are born with the disease each year. Sickle cell patients can require frequent blood transfusions throughout their lives. A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood. More than 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer last year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatments. For more info, visit

The next drive is Thursday, July 31 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Eastsound Fire Station. Please take some time to donate blood – you have extra to spare. Plus it doesn’t hurt or take very long. And if helping your fellow man in his or her most critical time of need isn’t enough, you also receive free cookies and juice.