3 minute readBlood

Blood Donation was my Rite of Passage

Jacob sitting in a blood donation chair.
Jacob during his first blood donation appointment.

Well before I was old enough to donate blood, I remember visiting my grandfather and being fascinated with his collection of American Red Cross blood donor pins. The average whole blood donation is about one pint of blood, and eight pints equals a gallon. For every gallon of blood my grandfather donated, he was awarded with a pin from the Red Cross. Initially I just thought the pins were cool, but now I realize they helped to fuel my passion for blood donation.

I considered blood donation like a rite of passage. For years I joined my mom and three older brothers while they donated blood. I would enviously watch the four of them roll up their sleeves to give and sit waiting for my opportunity. For most teenagers turning 16, they are excited to take their drivers test, for me it was donating my first unit of blood at a Red Cross blood donor center. It was a proud moment.

Jacob standing with his mother and brother after his blood donation.
Standing with my mom and brother after my first blood donation.

My Blood Type is Kind of a Big Deal

After I was finished, I realized the donation process is painless and easy and didn’t understand why more people aren’t motivated to donate blood. Here’s the cool part, from my initial blood donation, I learned that my blood type is O negative, and that it is the universal blood type. Emergency rooms rely on O negative blood to help patients with urgent needs when there is no time to determine their blood type.

Even cooler, my blood is also CMV negative, which means that I have never been exposed to a flu-like virus that is present in as many as 85% of the adult population by the time they reach the age of 40. This status makes me a hero for babies that are in need of blood transfusions for their medical care. CMV is generally harmless to adults but can be fatal to babies, so any blood transfused to them must be free of this virus or the antibodies that it leaves behind.

Jacob sitting with his family at home.
Me sitting with my family.

Answering the Call to Donate is a No Brainer

When I receive emails from the Red Cross indicating there is a need for blood, I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to show up to donate because my blood type is essential to assisting patients during emergency situations and can help babies in need.

As a college student it’s nearly impossible to make a financial contribution to the causes I want to support. With blood donation I feel like my volunteer efforts are really helping individuals through each unit of blood that I give. Using the Red Cross Blood Donor App makes the process even more rewarding because I can use it to find out when my donation reaches a hospital to help a patient in need.

Give Now for a Chance to Attend Super Bowl LIV in Miami

Give Now for a Chance to Attend Super Bowl LIV in Miami

The Red Cross has a critical shortage of type O blood and urgently needs blood donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors to make an appointment to give and help replenish the blood supply after the holiday weeks. To thank you for helping tackle the shortage, we’ve teamed up with the NFL to offer one lucky winner a trip to Miami! Come to give [blood/platelets/AB Elite] by Jan.19, and you’ll automatically be entered for a chance to win a trip for two including two tickets to Super Bowl LIV, entry to the official NFL Tailgate, tickets to the Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center, round-trip airfare to Miami, three-night hotel accommodations at The Alexander® – All Suite Oceanfront Resort (Jan. 31 to Feb. 3), plus a $500 gift card for expenses. * Your chance to experience the Super Bowl live awaits! Schedule your appointment to suit up and give ASAP.

*Terms and conditions apply. Valid email address is required. Limit three (3) entries per presenting donor. Winner will be selected and notified via the email listed in their American Red Cross donor profile on or around Jan. 24, 2020. Offer is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. Void where prohibited. Giveaway begins Jan. 1, 2020, and ends Jan. 19, 2020. The prize shall not be sold on any internet site and any ticket that has been re-sold via the internet will be nullified. The National Football League’s licensed marks (“NFL”; “National Football League” and the NFL Shield design, “Super Bowl” and the Super Bowl LIV logo) on any giveaway related materials have been reviewed by NFL and are used with permission. The NFL Entities have not offered or sponsored this giveaway in any way.