bloodThis weather-proof Blood Drive banner is available on loan to lodges hosting blood drive collections. Co-chairmen of the Grand Lodge Masonic Blood/Organ Donor Committee, Norman A. Fox (left) and G. Rick Knepper, display the sign with the changeable date line. To reserve the banner for a blood drive, contact the Office of the Grand Master, Masonic Temple, One North Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19107-2598, or call 1-800-462-0430, Ext. 1922.

The Masonic Blood Bank and Organ Donor Committee of the Grand Lodge shares the serious concern for the need for blood and calls upon Masons statewide to join in educating people about it. Blood collections nationally have decreased more than 5.5 percent while the number of transfusions have increased four percent. That poses a serious potential for danger to the public health of all U.S. citizens.

Joseph Yelo, of Jordan Lodge No. 673, Allentown, and a member of the Masonic Blood Bank and Organ Donor Committee, is Executive Director of the Samuel W. Miller Memorial Blood Center in Bethlehem and the Keystone Blood Bank in Reading. He says, "If you are no longer able to donate blood, you can be active in recruiting blood donors by offering to run a blood drive for your lodge or other Masonic body, in the community, for a company, or a religious group."

Bro. Yelo explains that one-half of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood; but people today are busier, involved with more activities, and not taking the time or making the commitment to ensure an adequate blood supply year-round. A Louis Harris & Associates survey conducted last year among 2,000 persons 18 years of age and older revealed that just 12 percent said they had donated blood in the past. Of those who had given blood, only 22 percent had done so in the past year. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, 48 percent of the respondents said that they had never donated blood, not even once!

One pint of donated blood can help as many as three persons. Individuals can donate blood safely every 56 days. The minimum age to donate blood is 17 years and there is no upper age limit. While the entire process takes about an hour, the actual donation of blood takes only six to eight minutes.

Keep in mind, there are no artificial substitutes for blood. The first successful blood transfusion was documented in 1818; but the most advanced knowledge in transfusion medicine has occurred during the 20th century. With new technology and advanced medical procedures, the need for blood has increased.

Bro. Yelo says, "It isn't every day you can do something to save someone's life. Please support our statewide Masonic initiative." If you need more information or want to help by joining the cause, call him at (610) 691-5423, or e-mail to: