The Silent, Priceless Gift of Blood

Donating blood?

What have you got to lose?

One pint, actually.The average person has between eight and twelve pints of blood, plenty for the body’s needs, which means you have at least one pint to spare.

And that pint can save three lives.

How often do we hear that through the small things we do, the random acts of kindness, we leave footprints behind for others to follow?

We know this.  We believe this.  But we often get so caught up in our daily lives, with work and family and who knows what else, that attempts to circulate our gifts outside our inner circle often get put on the back burner.

Gift of Blood

Gift of Blood

Well, there’s a way to give that fits into even the busiest schedule.

Donating blood.

For me, that means a visit to BloodSource, which provides blood to nearly 40 hospitals in 25 Northern and Central California counties.

All it takes is an appointment (though BloodSource accommodates walk-ins) and about an hour of my time, no strings attached.

The staff is always appreciative and considerate of my comfort (Thanks Juanita).  After all, I’m giving the gift of life, something money can’t buy.

Consider these facts:

  • There is no substitute for human blood.
  • People are the only source of blood for those who need it.
  • In the US, someone needs red blood cell transfusions every three seconds.
  • One to three people will need a blood transfusion in their life time.
  • One unit of blood can be separated into several components: red blood cells, plasma, platelets and cryoprecipitate (thus saves more than one life).
  • Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors.
  • Thirteen tests (11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood.
  • 17 percent of non-donors cite “never thought about it” as the main reason for not giving.
  • If only one more percent of all Americans would give blood, blood shortages would disappear for the foreseeable future.

The total time it takes for an average blood donation is one hour.

gift of blood
by Daniel, Daniel Kwok

The steps involved are:

  1. Registration.
  2. Mini physical: Pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, Hemoglobin.
  3. Donation (8-10 minutes).
  4. Refreshments (10-15 minutes).

Some benefits are:

  1. You get a donor receipt with a record of your blood type, blood pressure, and total donations.
  2. You get a mini physical.
  3. Your blood gets tested for at least eleven infectious diseases.
  4. You get yummy snacks (apple juice, granola bars, almonds, chocolate chip cookies).
  5. You end up feeling like a hero.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only gift is a portion of thyself.”

Can’t think of a better promotion for blood donation than that.

by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center

And the nice thing about this gift is that it’s anonymous.

None of that nonsense about depriving the receiver of his liberty and dignity or of your gift being like a hook.

Since Emerson is such a quotable guy, I’ll pass on another one of his gifts of insight (He contributed to mental health with his affirmations rather than physical health with his blood):

“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”

Take care, and while you’re leaving those footprints behind, make them firm and deep so they’re easy to follow.