Most people donít think about the need for blood in medical procedures unless someone they know needs it. Typically, the need is urgent; the patient canít wait. But unless caring donors have gone to a blood bank collection site several days in advance, the blood that is desperately needed by the patient and attending doctors and nurses will not be available.

An opportunity to prepare for the future needs of Brown County residents and others in the United Blood Services region arrives this afternoon.

Blood is not a commodity that can be stockpiled. It can be stored for only 42 days. Donors must constantly generate the supply, and time must be allowed for processing and screening before it is made available to hospitals, including Brownwood Regional Medical Center.

When hospital patients need care, they expect that physicians, nurses and medicine will be there. They also expect that adequate units of blood will be there as well. But hospitals cannot go out and recruit blood like they do doctors and nurses. They cannot stockpile pills and serums as they can for medicine. Blood is manufactured only by healthy and willing humans who understand that people they probably will never know will benefit ó will perhaps survive ó because they took the time to donate a pint when the opportunity arrived.

The Brownwood Rotary Club sponsors a community blood drive each quarter, and the bloodmobile will be at the parking lot of AgMart on the Brady Highway from noon to 4 p.m. today. Appointments are available at the Web site, or just drop by the location. With many high school football teams enjoying an open date this weekend, including Brownwood and Early, itís the ideal time to give. But then, any time is an ideal time to give. If you canít do it today, watch for information about other blood drives in the community that are more convenient.

If you need a little incentive, consider that donors today will receive a 20-pound bag of pet food as a bonus from AgMart and Nelson Wholesale.

Some things simply canít wait, and the need for blood is high on that list.

Brownwood Bulletin