Roll Up Your Sleeves

keep-calm-and-roll-up-your-sleeveI’ll never stop shouting the importance of donating blood. If you’re a faithful reader, then you know my family’s story—the story we share when people express fear or trepidation about donating blood. In December 2004, my mom developed a rare disease—disseminated intravascular coagulation—and began bleeding internally. When my dad found her in bed, her skin was the color of the gray shirt she was wearing. Our neighbors ushered my brother and me off to school, and my dad called my mom’s best friend Tina, who was then working as a paramedic.

My mom almost died that day. Medically speaking, she should have. She lost more than half of her blood supply, and doctors say she only had a 10 percent chance of surviving. Tina, my mom’s doctors, and emergency personnel were quick-thinking and efficient.

Mom received blood transfusions that day. The average human body contains approximately 1.5 gallons of blood, and she needed every last drop. My dad had donated blood to the Medic Regional Blood Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, earlier that year, and because of that donation, every ounce of blood my mom received was free. Medic covered it all.

But the blood my mom received didn’t come from my dad. Mom wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for generous donors who took the time out of their busy schedules to go to blood drives and donate blood. I’m so thankful for those people. We’ll never know their names, their backgrounds, their stories—but they’ll forever be special to us. Because they gave, my mom is still here today.

While doctors and scientists have made incredible medical advancements over the years, there is still no substitute for blood. It sustains us. We cannot function without blood flowing through us. When you donate blood, you could potentially help save the life of someone’s spouse, sibling, child or friend. One donation alone can save three lives.

Here are some fast facts*:

  • More than 41,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood.
  • Of the 38% of American people eligible to donate, less than 10% actually do each year (that’s a low number, guys).
  • The actual blood donation only takes 10–12 minutes. The entire process, however, takes just under an hour and a half. It’s a four-step process: registration, medical history and a mini-physical, followed by the actual donation. Then you get SNACKS! (You get snacks, guys. Free snacks.)
  • The most common reasons cited by people who don’t give blood are: “Never thought about it” and “I don’t like needles.” (To this I say, wimp.)
  • If you began donating at age 17 and donated every 56 days until you reached 76, you would have donated 48 gallons of blood, potentially helping save more than 1,000 lives.

Friends, donating blood is important. It can save someone’s life. I’m an advocate for it because it hits close to home. Blood transfusions saved my mom’s life. So, roll up your sleeves and go donate.

 **All facts and statistics come from the American Red Cross

Blood Donorship Saves Lives

donateblood

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.

My parents with Whitney Kent, an anchor for Knoxville's WVLT station. Mom and Dad regularly speak on behalf of Medic about the importance of giving blood.
My parents with Whitney Kent, an anchor for Knoxville’s WVLT station. Mom and Dad regularly speak on behalf of Medic about the importance of giving blood.

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