The need for blood donors

As summer winds down, the American Red Cross urges people to give blood now and help end an emergency summer blood shortage that began last month. A critical need remains as many regular donors delay giving to take final summer vacations and prepare for school to start.

One blood donation can save up to three lives, yet each year only a small percentage of people eligible to donate blood actually do it.

The statistics make me wonder if it is the actual process of donating that is holding eligible donors from taking that extra step?

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There are a variety of obstacles that people may face when donating blood whether its transportation issues, work conflicts, religious beliefs, binge-watching ‘The Office’ for an entire year straight- but I will not and cannot contest these conflicts…

What I can do is endorse the easy and meaningful process itself which, through its ease, execution, friendly staff and accommodation prove to be well worth the investment.

Recently, when I donated blood at the local Chicago Red Cross chapter office I remember coming to the decision to donate wasn’t a tough one, but there still existed a few impediments. My thought process was probably similar to most when asked to give blood, I immediately wondered:

“Is it safe?”, “Will it take up the entire day?”… essentially…“Is it worth it?”.

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 1.18.24 PM.pngPersonally, the opportunity to save a life rendered all those questions to be inconsequential- but the process was anyway a pleasant surprise in its comfortability and execution.

The staff who worked the blood donation; from the phlebotomists to the administration, to the volunteers who handed out cookies, sandwiches, and hospitality after the donation was given, were there to make the process go as pleasantly as possible. It was not even a bump in my day as I went back to finish some work fifteen minutes after the donation after taking time to indulge in snacks and water in the post-donation part of the process.

When it was over, and I was sitting at my desk- I remember thinking, I could have just helped save a life in the future, and I didn’t have to do anything but answer a quick questionnaire and drink water beforehand… 

It’s was so easy, and so worth it.

Whether it be the thousands of people in the U.S who suffer from Sickle cell disease, people fighting caner, or car accident victims- many people need blood.

The American Red Cross provides roughly 40% of the United States’ blood and blood components. Blood is the first line of defense against many diseases and tragic accidents.

You’ve read this far, and hopefully, you want to give the experience of giving blood a try if you have not before, or perhaps go back again when eligible. If this is you, please click here to find a blood drive near you and make a difference to the people waiting for blood.

Written by Cameron Macpherson, Red Cross communications intern



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