January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month

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EUREKA - The month of January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month and we sat down with the Northern California Community Blood Bank Wednesday to understand just what that means.

“One of the reasons January is National Volunteer Blood Donor Month and we try to raise some awareness is traditionally the holidays have been a real tough time for blood centers because people are so busy and making time in their schedule is tough during the holidays,” John Gullam, director of Donor Resources, said.

According to the blood bank, Humboldt and Del Norte counties actually do well during the holidays and see their decrease in donors during January. But either way, it is beneficial for the banks to continually raise awareness and maintain a consistent supply of blood products on their shelves.

“We need to have blood on the shelf when it's needed. If we wait until there’s a major user of blood projects to start calling folks and having them come in, it's going to be two days before that blood is useable so it'll be too late if we wait for that point. So we need folks to come in before there's a crisis to avert the crisis,” Gullam added.

And just a few days before the start of donor month, giving blood was in the news for a different reason. The Food and Drug Administration plans to lift the lifetime donor ban on men who have had intimate relations with other men, and replace it with a one-year ban. The Northern California Community Blood Bank recognizes this coming change and says giving blood comes down to pride and satisfaction. They attempt to safely minimize any exclusion or rejection.

For a list of times and locations to donate blood, visit the Northern California Community Blood Bank website: http://www.nccbb.net/schedule.html