Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Week 22: You're Somebody's Type

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a transfusion of blood.  A few of those times, it's been someone I care about whose life has been saved by a donor.  This week, I vowed to become one of the regulars. 

I've donated blood in the past but got out of practice after a minor heart surgery and multiple pregnancies.  It felt rewarding to be back in the seat last night, chatting with strangers and making new friends. 

One man I met donates every eight weeks in memory of his son who passed away at the age of 16 after three brain surgeries (and many transfusions of blood).  A woman I talked with said she hardly remembers a time she hasn't donated, starting long ago during a blood drive in college and continuing since then.  The only other young-ish person I saw there said it was his first time donating; his mother was just diagnosed with cancer.

For those of you who have never donated, the entire process takes less than 20 minutes and is pretty painless.  You fill out a quick questionnaire and they test your iron level with a quick finger prick.  Once you have the OK, they set you up in a "bed" and start the transfusion.  For those of you who are easily queasy, there is no need to ever see blood. 

Donating blood is a simple and quick process that can be done on your way home from work or is some child-free time if you're a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama like myself.  And on your way out, don't forget to sign up for the next drive, eight weeks+ later, in your neighborhood.

It was obvious to me last night that we need more donors from the Gen X crew on down to start donating...and "especially type O," a Blood Center of Wisconsin employee told me.  As I mentioned, most of the donors were near, or of, retirement age.  I urge you, if you know someone who has received a blood donation, or if you have loved ones you'd like blood available for in the future, please visit the American Red Cross and find a blood drive near you!  

"When you give blood you give another birthday, another anniversary, another day at the beach, another night under the stars, another talk with a friend, another laugh, another hug, another change." - American Red Cross

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