EDITORIAL: A drive that saves lives

Everyone’s busy this time of year. The shopping, the partying, the traveling. The calendar makers certainly did us no favors this year by putting only 26 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Although nonprofits generally see a surge in volunteerism during the holidays, the jammed schedules of the season impact an important community service: blood donations. Although donors often go away for the holidays, the demand for blood never does. Factor in the tens of thousands of visitors in Las Vegas every day — while they sometimes require medical care, they’re here to have a good time, not schedule a blood donation — and the supply of blood is stretched even further.

“Our production cuts down probably by 50, 60 percent on some days,” Danny Cervantes, regional donor recruitment director for United Blood Services, told Gina Rose DiGiovanna for a Review-Journal story highlighting the shortage.

Some serious medical emergencies and surgeries can run through a dozen or more units, taking supplies to dangerously low levels. And plenty of people schedule elective procedures at the end of the year because of insurance considerations, especially if they’ve already met their deductible. The holidays become peak patient season for hospitals.

Throw in ever-more-stringent eligibility standards for donors, and the task of boosting supplies becomes that much more challenging.

United Blood Services needs your help. Find a way to squeeze in a blood donation sometime over the next month. The health of Nevada residents and visitors depends on an adequate blood supply. To schedule a donation in Southern Nevada, call (877) 827-4376. Or make a point of participating in Wednesday’s blood drive in the University Medical Center parking lot, which runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bloodmobiles from other parts of the country will be there to help increase the valley’s supply.

Your donation could save a life.

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