Sarah Qualy - Memorial Blood Centers - Guest
Steve Droen - Host

Sarah, a proud Millennial, provided a lively presentation with loads of questions from members.  Did you know blood cannot be synthesized?  Did you know that collected blood goes through 17 different tests for safety before being approved for patient use?  Did you know that plasma can only come from men because pregnancy causes the chemistry of blood to change after pregnancy?
Sarah told us some interesting pieces of information.  For example, it costs $70-$80 for each unit of blood before they even see a hospital.  Blood that is going to be used for patients must come from volunteer donors, not paid donors.   People need to be virus free for 72 hours before donating blood and donors that are earning money for donating blood, tend to be less truthful with their health.  For every 1 minute that passes, 30 people are in need of blood.  It takes a body about 24 hours to regenerate the amount of blood donated, and platelets take 5 days to regenerate.
One question that generated some interest is how old is the normal repeat donor.  She said aged 55+ and this is actually an area of concern as there is an age cap for donors and there are not enough younger people donating.  Sarah is working on attracting younger people to donate.  One cute idea she shared is "Brewery Drives" which is aimed at Millennial's - donate a pint of blood and get a voucher for a free beer at a local brewery.  
She shared some advice on how to prepare to give blood.  Make sure you are hydrated, have a big meal before donating, and take your iron.  (Did you know Oreo's have the highest iron content of cookies?).  She also suggested for those that pass out or are afraid to give blood to get an ambassador to take your place!  This is a particularly good idea for those who are exempt from giving blood because they have lived or traveled in an area that has/had Mad Cow Disease.  Because people cannot be tested for this until they are dead, there is no way to guarantee the safety of blood coming from people that have been exposed.  
The overall message, please donate blood.  It is your civic duty to help those in need!!