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Approximately 40,000 units of blood are used each day in the United States. One unit is about the equivalent of one pint.  There are many reasons why people may need blood. They might have been injured in an auto accident, as happened to Ellie. She needed 30 pints of blood! But other accident patients might need even more.

People who need a bone marrow transplant could easily require 20 units of blood and 120 units of platelets!  A person undergoing heart surgery could use 6 units of blood and 6 units of platelets.  And someone in need of an organ transplant might use as many as 40 units of blood, 30 units of platelets, 20 bags of cryoprecipitate and 25 units of fresh frozen plasma!  Blood centers often run short of type O and type B blood. Shortages of all types of blood occur during the summer and winter holidays.
 
"When I get blood, you might just say 'oh well, it's no big deal', but it really is a big deal.  You don't realize that people are taking out time and laying on a bed to give their blood to another person.  When I had surgery, I got 5 people's blood.  I wish they could know that they're saving my life." 

"A year and a half ago, I was 17, and on the way home from skiing I fell asleep and hit a tree.  I broke my ankle, both femurs, my pelvis and tailbone, shattered and dislocated my elbow, shattered my finger and suffered from internal bleeding, bleeding in my brain and head trauma.  I walk into a room full of people, and one of the first things that comes into my mind is that maybe somebody in here saved my life."
 
My doctors put me on a regime of blood transfusions.  In the beginning I needed a blood transfusion every 2 weeks, then very quickly progressed to every week, and at the worst point, I was having a blood transfusion every other day.  I am a testament to the fact that blood donation works - it is a matter of life and death.   The units of blood products that I have needed has topped 450."

"I get blood once a month because my blood cells are abnormal.  Before I have my transfusion, I feel weak and tired and I don't feel like getting up and around a lot.  After I have it, I feel energized and very active.  If I didn't have people donating blood, I would die." 
 



So by getting other people's blood, it's like, they're keeping you alive. The way I figure it... I'm only 15 now, and I've got a good sixty or seventy years ahead of me... thanks to people who care.
Jenny,
— high school student
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