national blood donor month

National Blood Donor Month

Did you Know?

On December 31, 1969, President Richard Nixon declared January to be National Blood Donor Month?  No?  I didn’t either, but it is official.

The History of Blood Donor Month

national blood donor month            People often say, “since the beginning of human history” when they want to sound like they’re talking about something important. In the case, however, I can say with perfect accuracy that we have known about blood since the beginning of human history.  Or at least we’ve know that it exists.  William Harvey first described the circulation of blood and how the heart pumps it in the early 1600s.  It was not until the 1900s that we began to understand more about it, when Austrian doctor Karl Landsteiner developed the ABO blood group system.  Later, it would be refined to the A, B, AB, and O blood types that we know today.

Following this development, Rueben Ottenberg would make the first successful blood transfusion in 1907.  In Chicago of 1937, the first blood bank was opened by Bernard Fantus at the Cook County Hospital.  Since then, there have been thousands of transfusions over the years.

Some Facts About Blood Donation

  1. About 36,000 units of red blood cells and 7,000 units of platelets are needed every single day in the U.S.
  2. The Most requested blood type by hospitals is type O.All patients can use the O type, so it is highly valued, but only 7% of people in the world have it.
  3. The victim of a car accident may need up to 100 pints of blood to survive.
  4. 6.8 million people donate blood every year in the U.S.
  5. 38% of the population is able to donate, but less than 10% actually do.
  6. Donating blood is a simple, safe process.After a quick medical history test, the process takes only a few minutes and has no lasting effects, aside from the lives saved.
  7. A single donation can help more than one person.

Can I Donate Blood?

If you want to donate blood, it’s easy to do.  To donate, you need to be at least 17 years old, weight at least 110 pounds, and be in good health.  Certain medications and medical conditions (especially AIDS) will make you ineligible to donate, and you will be put through a short medical history check-up to make sure you’re clear.  If you are, you can donate at any time you like.  Blood donation centers can be found all over the country in every state.  If you want to find a specific place, the American Red Cross has a handy app to help you locate blood drives near you.

But I’m Afraid!

There are common fears associated with giving blood, but you really don’t need to worry.  The screening before they take your blood will determine if you are healthy enough to donate, so you don’t need to worry about any health issues that may result.  As long as you eat a good, healthy meal before donating, you won’t need to worry about a thing.  If the sight of blood upsets you, that can be handled, too.  Many blood donation centers will have TV screens nearby that you can focus on while the blood is being drawn so you never have to see it.

And what about needle phobia?  Well, speaking as someone who once had such a fear, the needle isn’t as bad as you think.  If you don’t donate blood very often, then it can be nerve-wracking at first, but in the end, you feel no more than a brief pinprick.  Once you’ve donated a few times, you find you get over the phobia very quickly.  You might as well take the plunge; it’s an easy fear to get rid of and you help a lot of people in the process.

What Are You Waiting For?

            The need for blood far outpaces the supply.  Every time you donate, it gets put to immediate use. Just a ten-minute visit to the blood bank can save three lives at once, so you know you’re doing a good deed. Since you’re not donating money, you don’t have to worry about charity fraud either.  Your donation goes directly to those who need it most.

So get out there and donate today.  You’ve got nothing to lose, but someone out there has everything to gain.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Don’t Let Breast Cancer Destroy Your Life

Breast Cancer AwarenessBreast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  To help with cancer awareness, we at the Bullock Agency would like to discuss breast cancer and its long-term effects.

Breast cancer, like all forms of cancer, begins when the cells in your body begin to grow out of control (Source).  The cells not only multiply at a faster rate than normal, but also lose their programmed cell death (or apoptosis).  They continue to build up instead of dying off, creating tumors.  Over time, these cells can also spread – or metastasize – to other areas of the body, disrupting vital functions.

According to Breastcancer.Org,  1 in 8 women will get breast cancer, making it second only to skin cancer in terms of how common it is.  This means that while you might not develop breast cancer, you will almost certainly know someone who does.

 

How Breast Cancer Affects People

Breast Cancer affects people in three main ways: physically, emotionally, and financially.

 

Physical

We associate pain with something being wrong, but you may be surprised to know that in early stages, pain is not a common symptom in breast cancer.  In the early stages, the most common symptoms will be changes to the shape of the breast. Lumps are the most obvious sign, but this can also include swelling, redness, changes in texture, or changes in the shape of the nipple.  These might be accompanied by discharges from the nipple and enlarged lymph nodes.

However, many of the side-effects of treatment are highly uncomfortable.  Most treatments – especially chemotherapy and radiation – involve attempting to kill the unhealthy cells with poisons or radiation while doing as little damage to the healthy cells as possible.  Despite our best efforts, these treatments still do some damage. Common side effects of treatment include loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hair loss, bleeding, sores, and soreness.

 

Emotional

The emotional effects of cancer can be equal to the physical discomforts of the disease. Just hearing you have cancer is frightening. As a potentially fatal disease, it’s a harsh reminder of our own mortality.  You worry about whether or not you will survive. How will your family will deal with things should the worst happen. What financial burdens will treatments incur. Your family worries about all of these things with you.  On top of that, the physical symptoms are exhausting. This can cause depression, decreasing your ability to cope.

 

Financial

The financial burdens are often the elephant in the room. While you focus on the day-to-day business of surviving, the bills start to pile up.  Deductibles, co-payments, specialized therapies, travel to treatment facilities, the inability or decreased ability to work; these are just of few of the indirect costs of cancer not covered by your health insurance.  By the end of treatment, you could find yourself in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt.  It should be no surprise that medical bankruptcy has become the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States.

 

How We Can Help

At the Bullock Agency, we want to help with the financial stresses.  With programs that encourage yearly screening, we help you to catch it early, which dramatically increases your chance of survival. With early intervention you can also avoid the perils of medical bankruptcy.

After a diagnosis, many find that their primary medical insurance won’t cover everything.  As the debts mount, many people try skipping treatments.  While this may seem like a good way to save money in the short run, but in the long-term, it increases chances that cancer will recur, meaning even more debt and a greater chance of death.

Since primary medical coverage is often not enough, the Bullock Agency offers supplemental insurance policies.  90% of Americans have less than 6 months worth of savings in their bank account. Supplemental insurance policies can help with that.  For as little as $35-$45 a month, we can provide additional benefits, assisting with the cost of screenings, hospital stays, and transportation.  And even after the diagnosis, we can offer assistance in paying for treatments, surgeries, and more. These added benefits include free coverage for children.

Let Us Help

Don’t hesitate.  If you are over the age of 45, you need yearly screenings. If you have a family history of certain types of cancer, especially Breast and Colon cancer, start even earlier.  Remember that early detection is the best way to keep medical costs low.  It also gives you the best chance of survival. To help alleviate some of your financial concerns, get in touch with us and see how a simple supplemental insurance policy can give you the peace of mind in knowing you won’t have to worry about medical bankruptcy.  The sooner you sign up, the better your benefits will be when the time comes to cash out.