Giving Blood

Have you ever given blood? Are you a regular blood donor? Did you know that 650 pints of blood are needed in this area every single day? 650 pints! Thats a staggering number.

I’m very privileged to say that I am now a card-carrying blood donor, as of my first donation in early August. Yes, at my age, I can still find things to do for the first time. I have wanted to give blood for many years, but for various reasons, was disqualified. First, I didn’t weigh enough, but I got over that. Then they didn’t want my blood, because I had a heart condition. Later, they got over that. Then I was disqualified because it hadn’t been 5 years since I had had cancer. I’m past that now. Finally, it was my turn to be on the giving end of a good deed instead of the receiving end.

My friend, David, serves on a committee to increase the diversity of people who donate blood. We had lunch the other day to discuss ways to include people with disabilities and make them feel welcome and comfortable as blood donors. It’s easy to identify certain populations by ethnicity or color, but to identify a population of people with disabilities is not so obvious. We don’t have neighborhoods of blind people, or community centers just for people who use wheelchairs, or churches for people who are deaf. However, many of us serve on a bunch of committees, and we all know a whole lot of people, and most of us know other people with some kind of disability. I have a pretty strong hunch that there are hundreds of people like me, who would like to make a significant donation. How much more significant can it be than life itself? By donating just one unit of blood, I can actually save somebodys life. Thats an awesome thought. What better opportunity is there than lying back on a recliner and squeezing a little ball in your fist for about 20 minutes? Whatever objection you might have, because of your disability, can be addressed and dealt with. For instance, there is a very long questionnaire you have to fill out, and of course, its not accessible,yet, but one of the Red Cross volunteers can read it to you. Its helpful for you to let them know you’re coming in, ahead of time, so they can have someone ready to do that. I’m giving blood next Friday at my church, and I’m working on having that questionnaire sent to me in a Word document, so I can fill it out at home, privately.

I’m very excited to help David and the committee reach out to folks who dont know that they’re missing a wonderful opportunity to help people who are in desperate need. David shared with me that before his father was hospitalized and needed a transfusion, he never thought about where the blood comes from when you’re in the hospital and you need a transfusion or just an extra unit. You need it, and they go get it and they put it in you. We never think about how it got to the hospital.

To be a donor, you don’t have to be wealthy, but you do have to be healthy. But giving every couple of months is a very wise use of your time. Ever heard the expression, What do you want? Blood? Well, yes!

For more information about The American Red Cross, go to

redcrossblood.org

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