This January commemorates National Blood Donor Month, a time to recognize those who donate blood to help others, and a time to raise awareness of the constant need for donors to give.

For some blood donation “newbies,” the process might seem a little rigorous or even scary (we all know how some of us feel about needles). But as the Red Cross marks this important month in public health promotion, the donating power of one person cannot be discounted. Take for example Bill Waerzeggers, a Green Bay resident who has donated 680 times over the last 42 years. Even Waerzeggers swears that the health professionals staffing the blood drives and donation centers do the hardest work.

“I sit here and the staff does the work,” says Waerzeggers, who has collected and kept all the stickers from his hundreds of donations in an effort to help show others that they too can make a difference.
Donating blood is, in all honesty, just not a big deal – it typically takes between 30 minutes and an hour, is relatively painless, requires little adjustment on your part, and is an easy and free way to help other people immensely. To donate, all you need is a blood donor card, driver’s license, or some other form of identification. Anyone 17 years of age or older can donate (16 years of age, with parental permission in some states). So if you’re over 110 pounds and in good health, why not? There’s no reason not to, says Waerzeggers.

“[Blood] has to come from people, and it’s a gift I don’t mind giving,” he says. If you agree and want to take part in National Blood Donor Month, call Valley Healthcare System at 706-322-9599 for more information on where and how to donate. You may also contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.)

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