Every qualified resident of the area has the opportunity to be a hero Monday when LifeShare Blood Center hosts a community blood drive from noon until 6 p.m. at the Minden Civic Center.
"Every donor saves three people's lives," LifeShare representative Mary Jo Henderson said. "And every donor is needed."
Donors will receive a free T-shirt.
According to LifeShare, an average adult has 10 pints of blood in their body and typically if someone needs blood during a surgery, at least three units of blood is transfused, however, a newborn baby has about a cup of blood in its body.
Henderson said a successful blood drive is not only measured by the number of units collected for the community's blood supply, but an equally important factor is the safety and health of the donors.
"Donors can donate blood if they have medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes," Henderson said. "The blood donation criteria is passing the mini-physical that includes blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and an iron level. In general, volunteer blood donors must be 16 or older and in good health."
Donors must bring a picture ID to donate. In addition, donors are urged to eat iron rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, raisins, orange juice or red meat before donation.
Henderson said donors are excluded if they are on Coumadin (a blood thinner) or on antibiotics. Donors must be off antibiotics for three days before donating. In addition, donors must bring a letter from their doctor if they have had a heart attack, stints or heart surgery before donating. Donors can donate if they are taking Plavix or aspirin.
Reportedly, one unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Red blood cells are needed for surgeries and trauma patients, while plasma is used for burn patients and cancer patients. Platelets promote blood clotting and give those with leukemia and other cancers a chance to live, according to americasblood.org. Cancer, transplant and trauma patients, as well as patients undergoing surgery may require platelet transfusions to survive.
LifeShare Blood Center regularly supplies blood components to 117 medical facilities throughout Louisiana, east Texas and south Arkansas.