If you ask a blood donor when they started donating blood, a lot of them will tell you that their first donation was at their high school blood drive.
Why there? Let’s be honest. While it’s always a good feeling to help out, when you’re that age the real reason you sign up for a blood drive is because it gets you out of class for an hour or so.
I know this, of course, because I was one of those kids.
Oh sure, I liked knowing that I was helping someone out somewhere. But mostly, I wanted a good excuse to skip Algebra and the first few minutes of Gym. It’s been more than five years since I graduated, and I’ve been donating regularly ever since.
What is it that keeps me going back for more, you ask?
After graduation, I went straight into nursing school, and the first class I signed up for was Anatomy and Physiology. Our professor was a huge advocate of donating blood and encouraged that same passion in his students. I learned a lot in that class, but the lesson that stuck with me the most was how much of an impact one blood donation really has.
One blood donation has the potential to help three people. By centrifuging that one pint of blood, doctors are able to use the plasma, platelets and red blood cells separately to treat their patients. If you’re anything like me, hearing that each blood donation is practically a three-for-one deal, you might think that we must not need to donate terribly often to keep the blood supply at a safe level. On the contrary, you’d be amazed at how quickly hospitals go through blood.
On average, 50 units of blood are used to treat victims of car accidents, whereas someone undergoing a bone marrow transplant might use 120 units of platelets and 20 units of whole blood. It might take several blood drives to collect enough blood for each recipient, and nine times out of ten the blood someone receives comes from donors in the recipient’s area.
I’ve been fortunate enough that neither I nor a loved one have ever needed a transfusion, but after seeing how quickly hospitals go through blood and how few people actually donate, how could I not want to help out?
I may not get to skip class anymore, but I still like to give blood whenever I can. Additionally, through my work at Incept, as a blood donor recruiter, I’m able to help other donors find blood drives in their area. It’s something in which I believe very strongly, and I try to pass that enthusiasm on to others. I guess you could say that I went from being a blood donor of convenience to a donor of dedication.
What made you start donating blood?