World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) takes place on June 14th and is celebrated around the world to raise awareness for the need for safe blood and blood products.
I’ve been donating blood since my senior year in high school (way too long ago) – and even though I donate every 56 days, it still feels like such a rewarding experience each time, because I know what a difference those few minutes can make to someone in need of blood.
In honor of WBDD, I wanted to share some common concerns and facts in hopes of convincing you to think twice next time you drive by a blood donation bus or see there is a blood drive near you!
Concern #1: I don’t like needles
I’m not sure anyone LOVES needles but your fear or hatred of needles can be overcome for a few short minutes, I promise. Prepare yourself in advance for your first donation by reading up on the donation process. While you’re donating, you are always reminded to look away in case you don’t like needles. You also get a chance to just kick back and relax for 10 minutes or less. Don’t forget, the snacks afterwards are a little bonus too. Best of all is the pride you’ll have for being able to donate!
Did you know that 1 pint of blood can help save as many as 3 lives?
Concern #2: I’m not sure I’m eligible
If you’re in good health, over the age of 17 (or 16 with parental consent), and weigh at least 110 pounds, you’re probably eligible. Less than 38% of Americans are able to donate and unfortunately, less than 10% actually roll up their sleeves and follow-through.
Did you know that every 2 seconds, someone in the US needs blood and/or platelets?
Concern #3: Is it safe to donate?
Absolutely! Each donation requires the use of sterile needles and the technician discards them after one use. You’ll also complete a mini-physical prior to donating to make sure you’re healthy enough to donate that day.
Did you know that a single car accident victim can require as many as 100 units of blood?
Concern #4: I’m afraid I’ll faint.
In all the years I’ve been donating or have hosted blood drives, I’ve never seen anyone faint, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Most donors feel fine after donating, especially if they’ve drank plenty of fluids and eaten plenty of food prior to their donation. Plus, you’ll have experts around during the entire donation process who are paying close attention and constantly asking you how you’re feeling; they want to make sure this is a positive experience for you.
Did you know you have about 10 pints of blood in your body? The loss of 1 pint during blood donation can be replenished is a pretty short amount of time.
Concern #5: I don’t have the right kind of blood
At times, there may be more of a demand for one particular type of blood, but there’s always a need and a purpose for every type.
Did you know that Sickle Cell Disease affects more than 80,000 people in the US? Sickle Cell patients can require blood transfusions throughout their lives.
As you’re deciding what to do over your next lunch break or what to do with that hour you have to spare between your kids’ soccer game and dance class, consider finding a donation site near you and saving someone’s life.
For more quick facts, check out: https://www.umms.org/-/media/files/ummc/community/blood-facts
Beth Bangtson, HR Manager