Driving through town, we’ve all seen those little red crosses checkered across the side of the road. We know that the need is constant, and everyone knows at least one friend who donates regularly. But not everyone has stepped foot into a blood drive, whether due to fear, lack of time or lack of information.

Well, let’s pull back the curtain. The process of giving blood is surprisingly easy, and here are 10 reasons that everybody who can, should:

blood3

10. It’s Totally Safe

Okay, not everyone is the biggest fan of needles. But seriously, every blood donation is done with a sterile needle that is immediately disposed of. Very few people feel faint afterward. The blood is drawn by a trained phlebotomist who specializes in this stuff.

Besides that, it really doesn’t hurt much. A quick prick, and the deed is done.

9. Doesn’t Take Long

 

Life is busy, hectic, and we’re all way too busy. But the average blood donation only takes 10 minutes, and the entire process—signing in, answering questions, donating, eating some snacks afterward—averages at about an hour.  Not so bad, right?

blood2

8. So Easy That Anyone Can Do It

There will never be a Blood Donor Olympics, because the process is so ridiculously straightforward. No special skills are required, no stamina, nothing but an hour of your time and a body full of blood. When it comes to helping others in need, there’s nothing halfway as convenient as donating blood.

7. Free Health Screening

Here’s an additional bonus: every blood donation is also a mini-physical, and all blood that is drawn will be rigorously tested. Blood pressure is tested, as well as pulse, temperature and hemoglobin. After a person donates, his or her blood is checked for HIV, syphilis and other pathogens.

Consider it a free health checkup!

IMG_3879

6. Free Food

Speaking of free…

Obviously, free food should never be a person’s primary reason for donating, especially since you want to eat a full meal before you go donate. But, the free snacks offered after a blood donation are a nice bonus. Because it’s necessary to eat and drink after donating blood, all drives are stocked with many snacks for donors to indulge in ranging from cookies, to soda, to pizza, to coffee.

5. Yes, the Need IS Constant

Blood is in constant demand, and most of the supply comes from donors. Over 41,000 blood donations are needed every single day, and if people in the US couldn’t receive blood transfusions, then four to five million Americans would die every year. When a car accident occurs, a single victim can need up to 100 pints of blood. Scary thought, considering that a blood donation is only three pints.

4. Good For YOUR Blood, Too

The recipient isn’t the only one who benefits. A frequent donor’s blood will flow in a way less damaging to the blood vessels, thereby resulting in fewer arterial blockages. Basically, frequent donors are 88% less likely to experience heart attacks. In addition, donating blood keeps iron levels balanced.

Blood - Red Cross - Nicholas Conley

Blood – Red Cross – Nicholas Conley

3. No Substitute

One vital reason that donations are important is because there is no substitute. Many people rely on donated blood. Those ten pints are our life force, the very substance that brings oxygen to our organs.

No lab has concocted a synthetic alternative to blood. People need the real stuff, and it only comes from donors.

2. Not Enough People Do It

Health problems may bar a person from giving blood, but in the US, the Red Cross estimates that about 38% of us can donate. But guess how many people actually do donate?

Less than 10%.

Blood supplies are constantly low, and with such a small group of people donating, they’ve stayed that way. Back in 2012, the American Red Cross announced that the blood supply was at its lowest level in 15 years. Though each person can only donate a small amount, each donation matters in a very real way.

blood1

1. A Single Blood Donation Saves Up to Three Lives

Saving one life would be enough, but one donation, as small as it is, can actually save three lives.

After whole blood is donated, it’s separated into three packets: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. Concentrated red blood cells are the most common type of transfusion, but plasma is needed for people with clotting disorders, and platelets are constantly in demand for chemotherapy patients.

So now that we’ve covered the basics, how does a wannabe blood donor get started? Simple: find a blood drive. There’s always one going on somewhere. A quick search online will yield results.

Blood donors will likely never see, hear or know the people they’ve impacted—but those people will know, and they will have the opportunity to live, hug their children, and enjoy a brisk summer breeze, all because of donors who take an hour out of their time, brave a needle, and give just a little bit of themselves to people they’ve never met.

Since I was a teenager, I’ve made a point to give blood every eight weeks. I can say firsthand that if you ever want to restore your faith in humanity, go to a blood drive: there, you will see so many people smiling, laughing, and doing something good for the world, not out of necessity or self-interest, but completely out of compassion for other human beings. It’s a beautiful thing.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Give Blood Today

  1. Great post. Great reasons!

    And another reason I often think too – we’d all hope someone would do the same for us, if we ever needed life saving blood. It’s easy to think “oh no that’s gross” but imagine if YOU were in that situation and you needed a blood donation. Thank goodness someone has, eh?

    🙂

  2. Absolutely the most complete and inspiring post I’ve yet to see regarding blood drives. Perfect!

    And thank you for your donations🌹
    How blessed to know you Have indeed saved a life..lives!

    I feel too the burden if that be the proper word, perhaps not, about organ donation. As most hold religious or moral code..or even childish reasons not to become one..I too at point in my life I felt I’ve nothing good to leave,but a few years ago,upon renewal of ID, I realized, that wasn’t for me to decide. Even if it just be weak eyes,are they not better sight than none?
    So like blood drives..it is a mere inconvenience for us,perhaps..
    to someone who has none left it is hope..life.

    Thank you Nicholas.. a tremendous post..gift.
    Cheers!

    • Thank you, and yes, organ donation is very much in the same boat. Such an easy thing to give, to someone who–assuming that worst happens to you–could desperately need something that is no longer of use to you. Easy but important ways to make the world a better place.

  3. That’s all true about giving blood!
    After a terrible and tragic fire during a concert in a Romanian nightclub, I gave blood for the burned victims. Occasionally I gave blood a few times before, yet this time I was deeply touched by the magnitude of this tragic event.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colectiv_nightclub_fire
    I wrote about this on a post (Fire, Blood, Death and Hopes) on my Romanian blog, Noctambulul:
    http://noctambulul.blogspot.ro/2015/11/fire-blood-death-and-hopes.html
    Now my intention is to donate blood each fourth month or so for the ones in need, especially for children and young people diagnosed with cancer.

    • This is amazing. You truly are a deeply compassionate person, and it’s good to know that you were there for the victims of that crisis when they needed blood the most. Cheers to you, and I’m glad to hear that you’re now a regular donor.

Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s