the gift of life

As I left work today, I declared, “I’m off to give the gift of life.” Now, if I were dating someone (or I suppose even if not), that could easily have some other connotations, I suppose, but I was merely declaring that I was off to donate blood with the Red Cross.

Late last week one of my co-workers can in, telling us to give blood (I think he had met up with someone who worked at the blood center) — I had wanted to give blood in the fall, but it had just never worked out, and I tried to actually give in December in Ohio, but I couldn’t fit it into my schedule then either. So finally I just went and did it! And as I was reminded by my friend, since I’m going to Africa shortly, this will be the last chance I have for a long while (as there is a significant — maybe a year? — waiting period after traveling to Africa, which seems kind of silly to me, I guess…)

I’ve been lucky to be able to “give life” for the past 8 years, and I think I’ve maybe given close to 16 pints, which isn’t too bad. However, if you went as often as possible, one could about 6 times a years! My dad, as a diabetic, can’t give blood, and my mom has recently had iron issues after many years of giving — I’d claim her as my donating influence. But even so, though most people qualify to give blood, the statistic I saw today said only about 5% of that pool actually does!  I understand people have issues with needles or blood, which I can understand, but I think the number of people with those kind of issues probably isn’t 95% of the qualifying population.

Giving blood is actually pretty easy and quick, too.  I’m again lucky here, because I have HUGE veins and blood that comes out quickly — I actually left the center before two of the people ahead of me even left their beds.  And the perks are pretty good, too!  I got myself an umbrella as a gift (though it was make in China — not so good), which happens sometimes but not always, but they do always have free snacks with your visit, even if you get denied from giving blood (most places I’ve been, at least).  And the Red Cross has there own Top Ten reasons, too!

So I just thought I’d bring to light one of those “little things” you can do to make a big difference — this is really the only way people can get blood when they need it (we can’t create blood in the lab that I know yet).  It’s not one of those little things that we do to feel better while we ignore the larger problem, either — it’s just something you should think about doing sometime soon if you qualify and don’t hate needles/blood.  Just call 1.800.GIVE.LIFE

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