BY: Mary Beth Mostyn
If you were near the SMC yesterday afternoon, you no doubt saw the blood donation truck parked out front. Numerous students showed up for the blood drive, all there to support a cause.
Giving blood is very important. According to the Red Cross, only 38% of Americans are even eligible to give blood. (For a complete list of things that could disqualify you from donating, check out redcrossblood.org and search Eligibility Requirements.) Because blood cannot be manufactured the only source is volunteer donors. One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
The Red Cross, one of the largest blood donation sources, says that the number one reason people choose to donate blood is because they want to help others, and the main reason people choose not to donate is because they “never thought of it” or “are afraid of needles.”
Still, it is encouraged that you donate as often as you can because every year, over 5 million people need blood and fresh blood does not last long.
Donating blood is simple and easy. Local blood drives are often promoted, or you can use the Red Cross website to find a drive in your area. Once there, you will be asked to sign in and review a pamphlet of materials. These materials offer information about why you might not be able to donate blood. After reading the material, you are ready to move onto the next step.
You will go through a mini-examination as the final step before you are allowed to give blood. Volunteer medical professionals will test your iron, pulse, and temperature. If you meet all the requirements, you will go through one more screening process—a quick question and answer form that allows the medical staff to check things such as whether you have traveled to certain countries or have taken certain medications.
Finally, if you have passed all this, you will be accepted as a blood donor. The donation process typically takes about 15 minutes. Many people worry about the needle, but it is important to remember the good that comes out of a few minutes of being uncomfortable.
The American Red Cross, which supplies 40% of the U.S. donated blood, reports that “Among Red Cross donors in a given year, 19 percent donate occasionally, 31 percent are first-time donors, and 50 percent are regular, loyal donors.”
So if you are ready, roll up your sleeve and head to your local blood drive donation center today!