The first place I visited was the ARC Blood Donor Center. I was lucky enough to be able to interview some of the staff and observe the operations. The thought of giving blood is frightening to most people, including me, but after learning about it I have reconsidered and think of it as something I will try to do later in life. (You have to be 16-years old to donate blood, and I’m just thirteen… so I have a few years before I can do it.) You may hear stories from people about how giving blood takes hours or how the Red Cross takes multiple pints or units of blood, but none of these stories are true. You have about 20 minutes to fill the bag and they will not take more of your time even if you want to, but it usually takes only take about 8 – 10 minutes to collect the blood. They will always only take one unit (1 pint) of blood unless you meet certain requirements to become a Double Red Cell Donor where you may safely give 2 units of red cells at a time. The process is also very safe. New needles are used every time and the Red Cross always tests for diseases such as HIV or hepatitis even if it is your 100th donation. The Red Cross needs to collect 22,000 donations everyday so they need all the donations they can get! Remember, your donation may save a life! Plus after donating you get FREE cookies and drinks!!
Here are some fascinating and important facts about blood donations at the ARC:
1. The Red Cross can get 3 different products from blood (So one donation could save 3 lives!):
- Red Blood Cells
- Plasma (contains proteins important for good health)
- Platelets (help clot and stop bleeding)
2. Blood Type O- is considered the Universal Donor because it can be given to people of other blood types without causing harm.
3. The average adult has from 10 – 12 pints of blood