February 6, 2015

Small Acts that Make a Big Difference : Give Blood

One of my Goals and Intentions for 2015 is to seek out small acts that make a difference. I mentioned that I'm not a person who likes to be "involved" publicly a whole lot.  If there are meetings involved, you can likely count me out.  But even people like myself can make a big difference in small ways.  I resolved to be on the lookout and update as I discover them. 
I have found a valuable one. 
 
In January I donated blood for the first time. 
I've often thought I should donate, but always missed the boat.  I was never aware of when, where, or how to do it.  Then, my friend Kate stepped up and organized a local American Red Cross blood drive, posting the event on facebook. (One of the pros of social media is that it gives you the ability to reach many people!  I had never been contacted or notified of a blood drive before in my life.)  I eagerly jumped on board.
I'm so thankful for Kate's time and energy in doing this, and thankful that her efforts reached at least one new donor for life. (me)
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf

Why have I often thought I should donate blood?
Both of my parents have.  My mom is a regular donor, and I knew as I was growing up that my dad had been an important match for his teenage brother with Leukemia before I was born.
During my first pregnancy I learned that my blood type is B- which is a rarer blood type.  Knowing that, I've often thought maybe I should donate. 

I've only just now learned how needed it is.  I have the second rarest blood type, and the 2nd hardest to keep supplied, with only a 9% chance of finding a compatible donor.  (I learned one of my sisters is B- also. Very good to know.  She also donates!)

Once I began seeking information, I kept reading things like:
"As a B negative blood donor, you are unique due to the rarity of your blood.  Because your blood is rare, it is important to maintain sufficient supplies for our community and local patients.  In fact, only 1.5% of the population has B negative blood.  Your regular and frequent blood donations are especially valued."  And:  "Because your blood group is B Rhd negative, you are immensely important to our lifesaving work."

Immensely important.  Lifesaving.  Valued.
By doing something so simple, I can make a big difference!

I also read that the most powerful part of my blood is found in the red blood cells. To maximize lifesaving power, all B- donors are strongly encouraged to donate double red cells.
So, knowing little at the time, but eager to give a lot, I asked on the spot if I could do a double red cell donation.

Double red cell donors must meet blood volume and type requirements, as well as blood iron levels; they must have a slightly higher red cell count.
My hemoglobin was at a stellar level and I met requirements.  I was a prime candidate for double red cell donation. 

It was a breeze!  The staff was fantastic.  They told me I was really smiley. 
Double red cell donations take approximately 30 minutes longer than a whole blood donation, so I kicked back and relaxed.  I did get chilly toward the end.  The machine separates and collects two units of red cells and then safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back through the same arm.  The fluid returned to your body is room temperature, which can cool you down a bit.  But this is northern MN where a little chill is no big deal.  I felt perfectly well other than that.  I felt awesome!

I only wish I'd started donating years sooner.  But I'm educated on the need now, and I'm committed to donating regularly from here on out. 

Some facts:
♥  Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
♥  Although an estimated 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year.
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
Blood that is required to assist surgical and cancer patients, accident, burn and trauma victims, even prematurely born babies, cannot be created. It only is available through voluntary blood donation. - See more at: http://www.hesperiastar.com/article/20150203/News/150209948#sthash.ZtThG8oR.dpuf
♥  A single blood donation can help save up to three lives.

The need is constant.  
While the holidays typically bring a slowdown to blood donations, this winter's flu outbreak and weather around the country have had a severe impact on blood supplies. 
There is currently an urgent need for all blood types. Many areas are are running dangerously low. 

To learn how you can give, visit the American Red Cross.
"Donating blood is the one true volunteer act that saves lives."

Peace, Love, and Life!

14 comments:

  1. Well done you! I'm terrified of needles, which is why I haven't considered giving blood. Also, I had a bunch of exotic diseases from my travels when I was younger, so was told my blood wasn't up to it... It is life-saving and I'm so grateful to all the blood donors around the world.

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  2. This post makes me sad - I used to like in the UK - and there was a terrible disease called CJC which may have been in the food we all eat - so, now in Australia I can't give blood! No way to do so - 'Did you live in England at this time?' 'Yes' - 'sorry sir, you can't give blood'!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  3. Good for you Amanda!!! Having been a recipient of a number of transfusions, I wish someone would accept my blood, organs or even eyes but no one wants any part of me. Depressing thought. I thought of at least I could donate my body to science but even there the anatomy school is overflowing with donors.
    I wish I could give you some dog therapy, we have 4 on the farm. Hugs . . . Arija

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  4. Good on you Amanda! I tried to donate once when I was about 19 but they had trouble sourcing a vein and needed to test blood before being listed as suitable. I didn't end up going back, it wasn't a very good experience. I was however very grateful for receiving blood transfusions after the birth of our second child - I could barely even sit up before I received more blood.

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  5. I'm happy for you, Amanda. This is an important post, but like Stewart, I also cannot give blood. I contracted Hepatitis A while in Peru in the 1980s and now I have an antibody that could make someone sick. I tried again a while ago but they still won't let me. I have received blood, though, and I'm so glad to know someone else did it for me. :-)

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  6. Bravo Amanda . . .
    Just think . . .
    This is a
    Make A Difference
    that you can repeat again and again.
    My husband an I started giving blood in 1970 in Wisconsin.
    We continued to give regularly when we moved to Michigan.
    I continued to give after his death in 1980 . . . for many years.
    One of the things I have saved is Gary's Giving Blood registry.
    I am much older now and cannot give.
    One little "Make A Difference" we can do . . . Thank you for this wonderful post!
    Once again . . . BRAVO,

    (This is the second time I have written a comment. I think I forgot to hit publish. If so, can you delete the repeat!)

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  7. good for you. i've given blood a number of times, but my blood type is ab (can't remember now if pos or neg) but they advised me it could only be given to the same blood type as mine. however, my platelets are well-sought-after as they can be given to all blood types. i donated platelets a couple of times, but i kept having numbing sensations and a bit of nausea. once i stopped working in dallas, i stopped donating as it's an hour+ drive to the nearest facility. i know i should continue, but i am wimping out as i'm worried about the drive home. yet, i know i could be helping to save leukemia patients...

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  8. Well done on both the post and the giving of blood. My blood type is O Negative (universal donor), so they are always glad to see me. We have a blood drive in our community every three months.

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  9. Great post! And so true, blood is always in need. Good for you for donating your rare blood. I'd never donated until a few years ago. My son, who has Crohns, was very sick and had to have three (!) units of blood transfused into him. After that, I decided to try and donate. It's very easy for me - we have blood drives at work every three months. Since my recent surgery, I haven't been donating (I think you have to wait a year post-op but I should verify that).

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  10. My post disappeared as I was typing it, so this may show up twice! I used to give blood a long time ago, but since just haven't thought about it. My granddaughter and my father both give. You've inspired me to so it again. You are right- it is a gift that absolutely will save lives.

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  11. I am also trying to 'give' more of myself this year, but I am such a sissy when it comes to blood and needles. Maybe it will be something I can work towards. Some of my small acts are sending out heartfelt thank yous, Valetines (tried to find an organization to send them to troops but that fell through) so I guess it's just Valentines to the neighbors...and about 70 for school. :) Trying to build up more meaningful ways to spread good will throughout the year. This is awesome, good for you!

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  12. Yea for you.. That is great. I have come close to giving blood a couple of times but I am scared to death of needles.. I know that's a bad excuse. But I have to go in for blood work every six months and I almost have a panic attack every time. I just need to suck it up and do it. I

    Hugs~

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  13. What a great post! Thank you for sharing.

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  14. Very coo good deedsl! Way to go on the double red cell donation! I donate when the bloodmobile comes to my building at work and I think they only take whole blood and that tires me out so I bet you were rebuilding/tired for a while! What is B Rhd?

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