The Greatest Gift

9 1 14 OneBlood Logo WEBI remember my first time.
I was disappointed.
But the next time, I was elated.

I’m talking about donating blood.

The first time, my blood was not flowing fast enough and they could not collect it. They gave me the free T-shirt anyway! The second attempt was successful and I felt a very satisfied and rewarding feeling.

Could you spare an hour of your time?
Could you spare an hour to give someone a chance to live?
Could you spare an hour to donate blood?

What do people need to live?

Air, water, food, shelter…blood.
Air can be bottled, water can be purified, food can be grown, shelter can be built.
Blood cannot be manufactured.

Every 2 seconds an American needs a unit of blood.
A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, so the supply needs to be continually replenished.

If everyone who was eligible donated, when the time came for you or one of your loved ones to need blood, it would be there.

Has there been a time when someone you knew needed blood?
I’m sure you have. Cancer patients and sickle-cell patients, infants in NICU and other patients are always in need of blood.

By donating blood you will help countless others, and yourself.

How can donating blood help you?

When you donate – your screening provides you with a “mini-physical” – checking your blood pressure, temperature, cholesterol, iron level, and more. Sometimes even a mini-physical can detect conditions important to your health.

Donating is actually GOOD for your body! After donating blood, the count of blood cells decreases in our body, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells in order to replenish the loss. So, it stimulates the production of new blood cells and refreshes the system.

I call it getting my oil changed!

The whole process of blood donation – from the time you arrive until the time you leave – ordinarily lasts no more than one hour. The donation itself takes only about fifteen minutes. Your single donation can help as many as three people, and can be at a hospital in as little as 48 hours, ready for a critically ill patient. Just think – you can help a trauma patient, a cancer patient, and a premature baby with one donation!

Around holiday times, when there are more traffic accidents, or in times of natural disasters – the need for blood grows. You can be responsible for saving a life. Many people go on vacation during the summer, which makes blood donations more challenging. And here we are in the middle of Labor Day weekend, when there is likely to be an increased need for blood with more drivers on the road.

Do you know what the rarest blood type is?
The rarest blood type is the one that is not there when you need it.
Today’s donor may be tomorrow’s recipient.

I am in one of the special groups. Only 8% of the population has B+ blood. My type is especially helpful for leukemia patients.

All donations to charity make a difference, whether they consist of money, clothing, or simply a couple of hours spent volunteering. While every contribution is equally important, nothing is comparable to the donation of human blood.

But what are the actual statistics on blood donors?

Only about 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, and of that less than 10% actually do. If all eligible donors gave 4 – 6 times a year, there would be no blood shortages. Most people do not give simply because they do not have the facts.

They think it will hurt. They think they will faint.
They think they can catch a disease.
They think it will take too long. They think it is inconvenient.
In all cases, no.

You can go on a Saturday afternoon to your local Blood Center – spend an hour relaxing in a chair while you give blood and then drink juice and eat snacks afterwards.

Besides helping to save a life and keep ones own blood fresh and renewed, some blood centers also rewards its donors with gift certificates from vendors including grocery stores, retail chains, restaurants and gas stations. I’m sure if you knew you’d be getting a gas card you’d be running out the door now!

While these rewards are all well and good, the greatest reward is that warm feeling that you get, knowing that you have just given the greatest gift you can give – the gift of life.

So what’s stopping you?

Go to Google and look up your local blood center and make an appointment now.

Me – I’m getting another T-shirt this Labor Day.

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