I have an appointment this afternoon to donate blood with the American Red Cross. I’m an advocate for donating blood—it’s near and dear to my heart.
When I was 14, my mom got sick and almost died. I won’t go into much detail about what happened, but a series of events led to her bleeding internally. She developed a rare disease called “disseminated intravascular coagulation” and nearly bled to death. Medically speaking, she should have died before arriving at the hospital. She only had a 10 percent chance of surviving—and she did.
The average human body contains approximately 10 pints of blood. My mom needed every last drop. Because my dad had (reluctantly) donated blood to the Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, that year, Medic covered our family. Every ounce of blood my mom received was free.
Doctors and scientists have made incredible medical advancements over the years, but there is absolutely no substitute for blood. It sustains us. We cannot function without blood flowing through us.
When you donate blood, you save the life of someone’s spouse, parent, sibling, or friend. Who knows? You may have been one of the donors that saved my mom’s life. Here’s the thing—one donation alone saves three lives.
Here’s some facts about blood needs and the national blood supply from the American Red Cross:
- Every two seconds someone needs blood.
- More than 44,000 blood donations are needed every day.
- The blood type most often requested by hospitals is type O.
- The number of blood donations collected in the United States each year is 16 million.
- The most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never really thought about it” and “I don’t like needles.”
- If you began donating blood at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you were 76-years-old, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives.
Your blood donation can save a life. Because people donated blood, my mom was able to see me graduate from high school and college, get married, and start my career. Lord willing, she will be around as I raise a family of my own, to see my brother graduate, and watch our lives progress.
Here’s my challenge to you: get over your fear of needles. Yes, it will sting at first. But when you think of the momentary pain you’ll feel when the needle pricks you, think of the thousands of people who undergo pain daily because they need a blood transfusion. Think of the cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. Think of the 14-year-old girl who is sitting at her best friend’s house, worried her mom won’t make it. Their pain is far worse than any you’ll feel from a blood donation.
Donate blood—save a life.