I bleed a lot. At least I try to.
There's always the urge, sometimes I can go months without, but I always come back to it. As a matter of fact, at 5:15pm today, I'll be bleeding again.
Of course, I'm referring to giving blood.
I started giving blood in high school, the Red Cross used to hold a blood drive at our school, in the gym, and anyone who wanted to could stop by.
Get out of class for an hour? You bet! But what started out as a way to relax for a while and get a free cookie, has slowly evolved over the last decade (has it really been that long?) I started to realize what a wonderful thing giving blood was- someone, or possibly people, could potentially be saved because I took an extra hour out of my day.
As I get older each year, I become more aware of things that people must endure: hardships, natural disasters, illness, etc. And while I am discouraged to know that there are these horrible things that happen, I am continually encouraged by the people who come swooping in to the rescue!
It sometimes doesn't seem like much, but giving blood is one way that I feel like I am making a difference.
It doesn't hurt that needles don't bother me too much, an inch of hollowed out steel can be a little intimidating. Fortunately, my childhood prepared me for them in the form of conditioning with allergy shots. (The lucky guy I am, I'm allergic to just about anything with fur...)
I also try to volunteer for the double red extraction. What?.... sounds like a Mad Scientist experiment.... It's actually really neat to see! If you're not familiar- your blood is pumped out of you, put into a centrifuge which extracts just the red blood cells, and then pumps the rest back into you. The beauty of this is that they can get twice the use out of your one donation, and I also understand it stores better. I've also found I don't feel so light headed, since the rest is pumped back in I think I stay more hydrated... And since they get twice the amount of cells, I can only donate half as much in a year- which makes it easier to fit my schedule! If you're a donor, I encourage you to ask about double red donations- they are always looking for donors but I think they only accept certain blood types for double red. You'll have to check with the Red Cross, I'm not really sure (I'm just a donor...) - ooooh... I just had a mental image of what would happen if I was in charge of the whole show... yep, pretty sure no one would donate after that... I think I'll stick to just being a donor...
The Red Cross has drives regularly in the area, and it's easy to get on their calling list, you can also visit this website- www.redcrossblood.org to get more information and find out when and where the next drive will be.
I think the Red Cross puts it best, so I'll leave you with that:
"The need is constant. The gratification is instant. Give Blood."