Blood donations save lives. But that is not why I do it. I give blood because I’m lazy. No, really. Hear me out.
I was raised with the understanding that it is every individual’s responsibility to give back somehow to the community in which they live – kind of a pay it forward philosophy. It could be anything from helping your neighbor carry in groceries, all the way up to becoming a member of the civil or armed service.
While this concept doesn’t appear to be popular these days, I kind of like it. Maybe I just feel that if I take care of my neighbors, they’ll return the favor some day. It’s sort of a nod to karma. But in any case, it makes me feel like I represent a benefit, and not a burden to society. I might still get thrown off the boat in a game of survivor, but at least I try.
Periodically I get motivated enough to do some kind of obviously impactful community enhancing project, but it is rarely my own idea. Participation generally stems from a call for volunteers from work, or tagging along with someone who is doing something. I once taught a finance class to some inner city school kids for Junior Achievement. That was pretty fun. Most particularly when the students decided the best way to ensure a fiscally secure future would be to open a “phat gentleman’s club with hot dancers”, and I got to blow some spectacular holes in their theories about capital management. That’s me, the dream-killer. Community service at its best. You’re welcome.
You know what’s really easy though? Taking a break every couple of months and reading a book for 10 minutes while you let blood leak out of your arm into a bag. You hate needles? Guess what? Me too. I can deal for 10 minutes to save 3 lives. What I don’t think I can deal with is not doing anything; and since I’m too lazy, and my bank account is too small to do anything else of worth, voluntary blood-letting is it.
I’m sure that if I didn’t fit the health parameters required by the donation center, there would be some other way to give back to the community. But seriously, I’m healthy and leak blood pretty darn well, so why not? Plus you get free food and a t-shirt. Heck, I feel like I’m getting paid for it. In fact, if you donate platelets only, they do pay you. College student or between jobs? This gig is for you!
If you’re scared to go because you don’t know what to expect, it’s understandable. I am happy to hold your hand through the process and give you tips to make it easier. Maybe you tried once before and ended up deferred because of low iron or dehydration. Try again. If you are afraid of embarrassing yourself by passing out or throwing up, don’t be. The staff is made up of seasoned professionals. They have seen it all. If you do have an issue, they will take the finest care of you. Trust me, it’s OK.
Until science invents synthetic blood, your ruby red juices will save lives. If you are local, visit this website for more information: http://www.vablood.org/ . If you live outside of central VA, look up your local Red Cross. Blood donors really do make a difference. It’s not just a drop in the bucket.