I donated blood for the first time as a 17-year-old junior in high school. The American Red Cross visited my school regularly – we had more than 2,000 students, which made us a good donor pool – and whenever the organization was on campus, students who qualified as potential donors (at least 17 years old, at least 110 pounds, in general good health, and have not donated blood in the last 56 days) were given permission to
MISS CLASS schedule an appointment to donate. I admit it…the opportunity to miss Physics motivated me to donate blood for the first time.
At the risk of sounding like a blood donation snob (that’s not my intention, I promise), on the day of my first donation I learned that I’m an excellent blood donor. My blood type is A-, so while I’m not a universal donor, I can donate to quite a few different blood types. I’m not at all squeamish and I have a really tough stomach, so nothing about the blood donation process bothers me. I have awesome veins and blood comes out of me quickly, so I’m in and out of the chair in about 10 minutes. And I never feel queasy after donating, so I can leave a blood drive and carry on with my day as I otherwise would have done. So there’s absolutely no excuse for me NOT to donate blood.
I donated regularly throughout high school, college, and my 20s, save for year-long breaks after a tattoo and when I was pregnant with both of my kids. But then we relocated clear across the country, and in the craziness of moving twice; selling, renting, and buying houses; leaving an old job and starting a completely new career; and settling everyone else into our new life, I didn’t donate blood for two years. (You can’t see me, but I’m hanging my head in shame.)
Determined to get back out there, I finally set up an appointment to donate at the TAMU American Red Cross Club blood drive a couple of months ago. My smooth donation and relatively easy recovery served as a reminder of why it’s so important for me – and all of us who are able to donate – to keep at it, even when life is hectic.
The thank you note I received from the Red Cross about a month after my donation served as a second reminder of why it’s so important for me to donate. This thank you note, while somewhat generic (to be expected when an organization sends thousands each year), was in many ways incredibly individualized. In addition to a sincere thank you and statistics about my blood type, my thank you note included information about where in the country – the state, the city, AND the hospital – my donation was sent, a detail I very much appreciated and that made me feel connected to the process once again.
I get it. Life is hectic. Life is exhausting. Life is constant. But the need is also constant. If you’re eligible, please consider scheduling an appointment to donate blood.