Friday, June 12, 2009

My Heroes: Blood Donors

I'm following up my post yesterday about Dr. Charles R. Drew, the father of blood banking, with a post in appreciation of all the everyday heroes who donate blood.

As you may well be aware, the blood supply at any given time is often low, sometimes critically, and donations are always needed and welcomed. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone needs blood, yet only 5% of the U.S. population donates blood during the year. On their website, www.givelife.org, they include a "Top Ten Reasons To Give Blood" list which is both informative and amusing (and I hope they don't mind if I reprint it here):

10 You will get free juice and cookies.
9 You will weigh less — one pint less when you leave than when you came in.
8 It's easy and convenient — it only takes about an hour and you can make the donation at a donor center, or at one of the many Red Cross mobile blood drives.
7 It's something you can spare — most people have blood to spare... yet, there is still not enough to go around.
6 Nobody can ask you to do any heavy lifting as long as you have the bandage on. You can wear it for as long as you like. It's your badge of honor.
5 You will walk a little taller afterwards — you will feel good about yourself.
4 You will be helping to ensure that blood is there when you or someone close to you may need it. Most people don't think they'll ever need blood, but many do.
3 It's something you can do on equal footing with the rich and famous — blood is something money can't buy. Only something one person can give to another.
2 You will be someone's hero — you may give a newborn, a child, a mother or a father, a brother, or a sister another chance at life. In fact, you may help save up to three lives with just one donation.
1 It's the right thing to do.
You can read more about the donation process and ways you can help (which also include becoming a Red Cross volunteer and sponsoring a blood drive).

I so appreciated the people who donated blood for me when I needed it, especially my Dad who made apheresis donations of platelets to me when I started having transfusion reactions late in my cancer treatment. I regret that I can not return the favor, since I am not allowed to donate my blood due to my Hepatitis C positive status. I did, however, volunteer with the Red Cross for a time and worked several blood donation drives.

I hope to encourage you to consider becoming a hero by donating blood today. Thanks to all of you who donate blood already---you are my heroes!

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