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January is Blood Donation Month

Roughly three percent of the U.S. population donates blood each year, which is a far cry from the 62 percent that is eligible to donate.

An average adult has about 10.5 pints of blood in their body. For a whole blood donation, approximately one pint of blood is collected.

January is National Blood Donor Month, a time to bring awareness to how a small gift can have a lasting impact on many people. In only 45 minutes to an hour, an eligible individual can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives. A blood transfusion occurs every two seconds in America, so the need for blood is crucial.

A traditional whole blood donation can be separated into different blood product components in the lab (red blood cells and plasma) and depending on the amount of time from donation to the lab, additional products can be made such as platelets and cryoprecipitate which are used in cancer treatment and heart surgeries.

What is required to be an eligible blood donor?

The general donor requirements include weighing a minimum of 110 pounds, be at least 16 years old and generally healthy.

During pre-donation screening, a blood bank employee will ask you confidential questions about your health, lifestyle and disease risk factors. A short health exam will take place, including pulse rate, temperature and blood pressure. A drop of blood from your finger will also be tested to ensure your blood iron level is sufficient for you to donate.

Once the pre-donation screening is complete, you will proceed to a donor bed where your arm will be cleaned with an antiseptic and a professional will use a blood donation kit to draw blood from a vein in your arm. One unit of blood takes about six to 10 minutes to perform.

There are many places where donations can be made. Blood Assurance is the local donation site. It’s at 155 W. Broad St. in Cookeville, across from the train depot.

Blood Assurance is the sole supplier of blood for Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

For hours or to make an appointment, visit or call 931-526-3462.

Facts about blood donation:

Roughly three percent of the U.S. population donates blood each year.

Just one donation can save up to three lives.

The average red blood cell transfusion is 3 pints (or 3 whole-blood donations)

Blood from one donation can be divided into two components – red blood cells and plasma

A blood transfusion occurs every two seconds in America.

25 percent of the blood supply is used by patients battling cancer.

1 in 3 African-American blood donors are a match for a patient with sickle cell disease.