Now is a Really Good Time to Give Blood. Here’s Why I Am a Regular
Blood Banks are some of the happiest places on earth. Here’s what you’re missing.
In the spring of 1980, I drove across the US by myself. It was one of the best things I have ever done. When I got to North Carolina, I visited my aunt and uncle, whom I rarely saw because they lived across the country. My uncle Jack worked security at Research Triangle and was a volunteer at the Red Cross Blood Bank.
He convinced me to give my first blood donation.
I was lucky to have him sponsor me for the first time. I got lots of attention, great snacks, and the positive experience stuck with me; I’ve been a blood donor my whole life. It’s doesn’t hurt that I’m O negative and CMV negative, which means I’ve been donating “Pedi-packs” my entire life. It’s easy to feel like a hero when you’re saving babies! But it doesn’t matter your blood-type; all types are needed!
When the pandemic hit and things started to look bad, I realized it was time to head back to the blood bank. It seemed like the very least I could do to make a difference during unprecedented times.
It is truly one of the happiest places on earth.
I give platelets, and that means I can go in every week. I’m unemployed right now (not by choice), and I need a way to feel like I’m doing something meaningful. It’s not a lot, but it is rewarding, and it’s been a lifeline for me — an inveterate extrovert. I arrive in a room full of helpful people who want to do their best to make my experience positive.
I usually end up dancing before I’ve finished my screening — okay, true confession, I typically struggle to pass the hemoglobin test, so I jump around to get my blood pumping. You need to have enough iron in your system to pass the hemoglobin test, and if there’s a screening, I will fail, it’s this one. Less so now that I’ve survived menopause, but it still happens.
There is a huge benefit of this little mini-health screening: I get to make sure I’m staying healthy, and this little vitals check is a great way to ensure my blood pressure, pulse, and iron levels are in good shape.