By Charly SHELTON
The 10th annual Battle of the Badges blood drive held Feb. 11 at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station has ended. Benefiting the American Red Cross, this annual drive contributes to blood banks in the area to provide blood for transfusions as a result of blood loss in accidents, surgeries, trauma and any other situations where blood may be lost.
“It’s going really well,” said Sgt. Cynthia Gonzalez during the drive. “We’ve had over 20 [donations] already, and we have three more hours [before it ends]. I think we’re going to meet our minimum, which is 30.”
Sgt. Gonzales was right. Over the last 10 years, the CV Sheriff’s Station has averaged 30 blood donations at each event. This year they received exactly 30 pints of blood, hitting the target spot on. These 30 pints of blood will go on to save 90 lives.
“I’ve heard it’s actually going a lot smoother than in the past,” said Sgt. Gonzales. “[This year there’s a] ‘fast pass’ where donors can go and book their time and read all the requirements – who can and who can’t donate – and they just bring in their information. It makes things go a lot quicker.”
Donating blood is an important act that helps save a life with little inconvenience. According to the American Red Cross, 38% of the United States population is eligible to donate blood but only about 8% actually do. Someone needs blood every two seconds in America and there is a constant shortage of blood overall. It’s worse for rare blood types, like O negative. Unlike some other types of blood, those with O negative blood can only receive O negative blood.
But just saying that donating blood saves lives may not be enough for some people. Through the Red Cross Blood app, donors can track their donation to see where it went and whom it helped.
“When you give blood, they can actually tell you where your blood went,” Sgt. Gonzales said. “It’s an online registry. The director, Shawn, said his blood went to another country because it had a disaster. His blood is over there helping [those in need].”
Blood donation is important for everyone but even more so for those who wear a badge. On any given day a law enforcement officer could be in danger or injured. The blood donated could go to save them or someone they know.
“Of course, it’s for a worthy cause,” Sgt. Gonzales said. “I went through the station and [told everyone to] give blood – it might save somebody’s life, it might save your life.”