From donor to recipient: Follow the blood (w/VIDEO)

May 6, 2014 | by

Every day in the United States, an estimated 40,000 units of blood products are used to treat the injured and the ill. This includes City of Hope patients, who count on donated blood during surgery or while undergoing radiation, chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation — all of which can diminish a patient's ability to produce their own blood or specific components of it.

This would not be possible if not for the generosity of more than 9 million Americans who donate blood at least once a year.

What happens to blood from the time it is collected until it is needed by, and transfused into, a patient? Find out in the video below.

What happens to blood from the time it's collected until it's needed by, and transfused into, a patient? Find out in the video "Follow the Blood," above.

While these donors know that their contributions can save a life, they may not be aware of the journey blood takes after it leaves their veins.

To help shed light on that mystery, we took an inside look at City of Hope's Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center. There, we trace a blood's voyage from the time it is collected to its eventual destination: being transfused into a patient who needs it during cancer treatment.

To see the blood's journey from collection to transfusion, watch our video "Follow the Blood," above.  We're not the only ones who found this process mesmerizing; the video has been viewed almost 30,000 times so far on our YouTube channel. It has also been featured on Gizmodo, Digg and Change.is – and received compliments from our own blood donor center staff.

"I think this video did a wonderful job demystifying the process and capturing the donors' acts of kindness in a very gratifying way," said Kasie Uyeno, manager of blood donor recruitment at City of Hope.

For more details on how donated blood is processed and screened, check out our blood donation FAQ page.

In case this video is not compelling enough to get you to become a blood donor, Uyeno noted that "many lifesaving procedures would not be possible without the support of blood and platelet transfusions. A little of your time can truly mean a lifetime for another!"

Find out more about how to become a blood or platelet donor at City of Hope.