The Benefits of Blood Donation

Published on 
January 23, 2017


Welcome to 2017 and National Blood Donor Month! Did you make a New Year’s resolution? I decided to make a resolution to save at least the life of one child in 2017. Here is why I made that choice and how you can join me.

My friend Joe was traveling in a remote part of Asia several years ago. During his travels, he was bitten by a mosquito and got a very serious disease that caused him to bleed uncontrollably. He was in a location where 95 percent of the population did not have a blood type that he could use. While the medics were emergently airlifting him out to a hospital, a military officer in the airport overheard them saying that they feared Joe would not survive. The officer discovered that he had the same blood type as Joe, and he volunteered to donate his blood. This gesture saved Joe’s life.


  • chla-blood-donation-benefits.jpgYou can donate blood as often as every two months.
  • You can donate platelets as often as every two weeks.
  • A donation of one unit of blood can save as many as three children’s lives.
  • A donation of three units of platelets can treat three teens, six adolescents or nine infants.
  • When you donate blood, you find out what blood type you have.
  • You need to be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds to donate blood.
  • CHLA collects about 11,000 units of whole blood per year.
  • Donating blood takes about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • CHLA collects about 2,500 units of platelets per year.
  • Donating platelets takes about 1 to 2 hours.
  • About 20,000 transfusions are done at CHLA each year and approximately 75 to 95 percent of that blood comes from our donors. Any additional blood needed must be purchased from other donation centers.
  • CHLA needs 800+ donors a month to meet the demands of the hospital.
  • Half of the blood donated to CHLA is received at our Blood Donor Center, and the other half is received through our mobile blood drives.

Donating blood gives donors the satisfaction of having made a real difference for a sick child in need. It always feels good to give a gift to another. CHLA will use your blood to treat children with cancer, diseases of the blood, or those who are involved in a trauma such as a car accident, as well as children with many other diagnoses. Often, it will be used to save their lives.

Donors can give either platelets or whole blood, and your donation today can be used within 48 hours to treat a sick child. All blood types are needed. 

There is also another way you can help: by organizing a blood drive in your area. The Blood Donor Center can give you details on how to do so or visit

Now, I hope you never find yourself in the same situation as my friend Joe, but it was the generosity of someone he had never met that saved his life that day. Call the CHLA Blood Donor Center at 323-361-2441. If you’re not in the Los Angeles area, call your local blood donation center and make an appointment to donate or organize a blood drive today!