With the economy being what it is, many of us are not in position to donate much money, but there is something most of us can give that does not cost anything: blood!
Donating blood is easy, safe, surprisingly comfortable ( I speak from experience), and life saving. One pint can save multiple lives; some patients need multiple pints. A blood donor can give a pint of whole blood every 56 days, while a platelet donor could safely give up to 24 times per year. Platelets are needed for cancer treatment, open-heart surgery, and blood disorders. Red blood cells are used to replace blood lost in accidents or surgery, for example. Plasma is also in demand because it includes clotting factors, it is used to treatcertain bleeding disorders and can be donated every four weeks.
I have been giving blood regularly for fifteen years now and am now over seven gallons donated. I give around four times a year, although I could give more often.
To become a blood donor one only needs to:
- Be at least 17 years old (16 with parent consent)
- Weigh 110 pounds or more
- Be in general good health
- Have identification, such as a driver's license
Less than 10% of people eligible to donate blood do so regularly, if more of us donate regularly there would be less need for emergency appeals, especially during the summer and around the Christmas holiday season.