I joined the Red Cross Youth org in my university during my college years. While I handled several projects for the org, I never got around to donating blood. At the time, I was afraid of the needles used, the sight of blood or the medical team sometimes had trouble locating the blood vessel in my arm optimal for blood extraction.
I started donating blood a few years ago. The employees’ union at my office had a bloodletting activity and, as a show of support and with some friendly competition among my coworkers, I joined those donating blood. It was fairly painless plus the union officers even gave me a mug and a shirt as a souvenir.
Since then, health and schedule permitting, I have tried to regularly donate blood at a nearby hospital. I even brought my husband with me once and we made the experience into a bonding activity. On my next donation this December, I plan to bring my eldest daughter so I can instill the habit in her as well.
My reason for donating blood is that it’s one of the easiest ways I can contribute to someone’s life. One pint of blood can be broken down into three components – red blood cells, plasma and platelets – thereby possibly saving up to three lives.
Given the demands on my time and resources, I can’t contribute much to charity or volunteer at my chosen causes. Giving blood, however, simply involves a trip to the hospital and a few minutes at the blood bank.
Blood donation also affords me several health benefits:
- A free mini-physical that checks my pulse and blood pressure as well as a free blood analysis that checks for the presence of infectious diseases.
- Prevents hemachromatosis, a health condition brought about by too much iron in the blood. By maintaining healthy iron levels in the blood, the risk of certain cancers, liver and heart ailments are also minimized.
- It helps in weight loss. Every donation burns around 650 calories, which to me is the equivalent to three hours at the treadmill.
- It also stimulates production of new blood cells further contributing to the maintenance of good health.
Blood donation is a way for me to give of myself. It is my gift of life to whoever has the urgent need for it.
If you want to donate blood, check out the Red Cross website for more information.