Some Health Concerns Are Not An Issue When Donating Blood

Think you’re not a good candidate for blood donation? Think again. Sometimes, people with high blood pressure and diabetes suspect they are not eligible to give blood. Many cancer survivors also believe they will be deferred because of their previous illness.

“But that’s not always the case,” said Tracy Duncan Fox, Communications Manager for the Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross. “We’re working to dispel myths and to educate people about who can give blood and when.”

In the United States, about 38 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood. The most common reason someone might not be able to give on any given day is low hemoglobin. And Red Cross officials say that measure of iron in red blood cells can often be improved by eating more iron-rich foods or by talking to your doctor about taking iron supplements.

“The good thing is, most deferrals are for short periods of time,” said Duncan Fox. “Most of the time, people can monitor and address the cause, and then come back to give blood again.”

Donors with high blood pressure, for instance, can give blood as long as their condition is controlled. And diabetics can give if their blood sugar is controlled with diet, oral medication or with most insulins. Some cancer survivors can also donate. Donors with a history of nonhematologic cancer must be cancer-free for one year, have completed all their treatments, and meet all other eligibility criteria.

“We encourage anyone who is in good general health to consider giving blood,” said Duncan Fox. “If you like to help people, the Red Cross is the place to be, and has the right volunteer opportunity just for you.”


• Thursday, Oct. 18, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. at The Enrichment Center in the gymnasium, located at 11246 SR 15 in Montpelier.
• Monday, Oct. 22, from noon until 4 p.m. at AmeriCare Home Health Services, located at 102 W. Bryan St. in Bryan.  Please call 553-0800 to schedule your blood donation appointment.
• Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Walmart, located at 1215 S. Main St. in Bryan.
• Wednesday, Oct. 31, from noon until 6 p.m. at Hilltop High School in the gymnasium, located at 1401 W. Jackson St. in West Unity.  Come to donate and receive a Major League tumbler.  Please call (419) 924-2365 to schedule your blood donation appointment.

How to Donate Blood

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in Indiana and Ohio), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

About the American Red Cross

The Indiana-Ohio Blood Services Region serves northern and central Indiana and northwestern Ohio, and needs to collect about 500 units of blood a day to meet patient need in 60 hospitals.  The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at


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