I remember the first time I tried to donate blood. I was in high school, and they had a blood drive in the gymnasium. I thought it would be an easy way to give. They must have tried using my left arm because I have since learned that I am only successful using my right arm. They tried and tried, but it did not work. I was extremely disappointed.
Years went by, and I was now a mother of two boys. After having to experience several blood draws during my pregnancies, I thought maybe donating blood was easier than I thought, so why not try again. In addition, the Columbine tragedy had just occurred, and I heard there was a local need for blood donations. I was nervous and thought it was going to hurt, but I made an appointment. Lo and behold it was a piece of cake! Every time my work hosted a blood drive, I would sign up. A few times, the CEO of Colorado Access at the time, Don, and I would compete to see who could donate the fastest. I won most every time. Drinking lots of water beforehand helped with this success.
Over the years I have donated over nine gallons of blood, and it is rewarding every time. I was elated the first time I received the notification that my blood was being used. They have improved the process, by allowing you to answer all the questions online ahead of time, making the donation process go even faster. You may donate every 56 days. The benefits? You get cool swag, refreshments and snacks, and it’s a good way to keep tabs on your blood pressure. But the greatest benefit of all of course, is that you help save lives. All blood types are needed, but you might have a rare blood type, which would be even a bigger help. Someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. That’s why it is so important that the supply is continuously replenished. If you have never tried donating blood, please give it a try. It is a small price to pay to help others in need. Donating blood once can save and help the lives of up to three people.
The majority of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood, but only about 3% actually do. Vitalant has multiple donation centers and blood drive opportunities. The donation process takes less than hour from start to finish, and the donation itself only takes about 10 minutes. If you can’t or won’t donate blood, there are many ways you can support this lifesaving mission. You can host a blood drive, advocate the need for blood donations (like me), make a donation, sign up to be a bone marrow donor, and more. If you are unsure of where to go or how to start, please contact Vitalant (formerly Bonfils) where you can easily find more information or sign up at your convenience.