Why I Donate Blood

I started to donate blood only a few years ago, after my sister received a lifesaving blood transfusion. She had been hospitalized for many days and needed a transfusion when her red blood cell count became dangerously low. I would have done anything to thank the person whose blood we received, but I decided an even better way to show my appreciation would be to start donating myself.

People who donate blood are heroes who have the potential to save more than one life with each donated pint.  Though it seems one pint of blood goes a long way, and it can, there are cases where people need multiple pints of blood at a time. A victim of a car accident sometimes needs as many as 100 pints of blood and there are also many people with autoimmune diseases who require frequent blood transfusions. Sometimes during chemotherapy a cancer patient will need blood every day.

Even with the numerous blood drives that occur nationwide, there is still not enough blood for all of the people who need it. Blood is something that cannot be manufactured; it is only available because of generous donors.  Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood and if everyone donated blood who could, we could save thousands of more lives than we already are.

Blood is also one of the easiest things to donate. The process of donating takes about an hour, but the actual donation only takes around ten minutes. You can stop by after work, attend a weekend blood drive, or schedule a quick appointment whenever it is convenient for you. The Red Cross wants the process to go as smooth as possible which is why they always provide snacks and beverages to their donors.  The American Red Cross website also has great tips for a successful donation and provides wonderful information on the blood donation process in general. If you are not sure whether you are eligible to donate blood, be sure to check their website to view the eligibility requirements.

By donating blood, you will become someone’s hero. While there is not enough blood on a national level, the city of St. Louis itself needs more blood donors. Those who can donate have the amazing opportunity to save a life of someone in their community. For me, this is more than an opportunity, but rather an obligation. I always feel great after donating, knowing I am helping someone who is in vital need of blood. Donating blood is simple, yet so important, and I wish I had had someone to explain this importance to me years ago so I could have started donating sooner.

Red Cross Communications Intern

Communications Intern Hannah Goldstein

 

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