2 minute readBlood

Help End the #BloodEmergency: Be a Lifesaving Hero like Merrick Tan

Editor’s Note: A version of this story first appeared on the Red Cross National Capital Region blog. Story by Clarice Nassif Ransom. Photo courtesy of Merrick Tan.

Your Help is Needed Now to Help Replenish the Blood Supply and Save Patient Lives

As a medical student, Red Cross blood donor Merrick Tan sees firsthand how blood and platelet donations help save lives.

“When I donate blood, I think about my family and if they were to need blood one day. Someone in my position can literally save their life, and so it is a privilege to be able to offer that to someone else’s loved one with my blood donation.”  – Merrick Tan, Red Cross blood donor

We are thankful for the thousands of people who have responded to the emergency call for blood and platelet donations issued by the American Red Cross in July. However, there continues to be a critical summer blood shortage.

Be inspired by Red Cross blood donor Merrick

For more than 10 years, Merrick Tan, a fourth-year medical student at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., has been donating blood, a coast-to-coast endeavor that started in his youth in Union City, California, and carried through to adulthood.

“As a medical student, I see firsthand how valuable blood products are, and how frequently they are required to save lives,” said Tan. “I have been blessed with the ability to make my own, healthy blood. And if it takes a few hours of my time every few months to share that blessing with others, I am more than happy.”

Tan began donating blood where his father works at as a laboratory technologist at the Stanford University blood bank.

“I remember going with my father to work as a child and being fascinated by the machines and refrigerators full of blood products,” said Tan. “So, when I was finally old enough, it was an excuse to visit my dad at work. When I moved away from home, the American Red Cross had a blood drive at my school, and I have been donating there ever since. I donate at the Charles R. Drew Donation Center in Washington, D.C.”

Giving blood is simpler than you might think

“When you first donate blood, you are asked a series of questions about important risk factors that may make your blood unsafe to give to others,” said Tan. “Then you get a quick finger poke to determine if you have enough blood to donate – which is probably the most ‘painful’ part of the experience. If you and your blood are safe to donate, then a phlebotomist will take you to a room full of other donors, insert a small needle into your arm, and hook that up to a machine that will collect your blood. If you are there for a while, you can watch DVDs or listen to music. But usually the process isn’t very long. Once you’re done, you get some snacks and drinks to replenish.”

Helping others could mean helping those you love

When asked what Tan is most proud of by donating blood, he acknowledges that blood donations can save lives.

“When I donate blood, I think about my family and if they were to need blood one day,” said Tan. “Someone in my position can literally save their life, and so it is a privilege to be able to offer that to someone else’s loved one with my blood donation.”

Please give now

It is critical that eligible individuals give blood or platelets as soon as possible. For more information or to make appointment to give, use the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit redcrossblood.org, or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767.) And don’t forget to fill out your RapidPass before you donate that day to help speed up the donation process!

To show our appreciation, come out to give blood or platelets through August 31, 2017, and we’ll email you a $5 Target eGiftCard™.*

* Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at redcrossblood.org/summer. The Bullseye Design, Target and Target GiftCard are registered trademarks of Target Brands, Inc. Terms and conditions are applied to gift cards. Target is not a participating partner in or sponsor of this offer.

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