Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately?

On Saturday, I stepped out of my comfort zone.

I donated blood for the first time.

I have always been a fan of donating blood. My mother donated blood almost every time she could. I can remember the Red Cross calling our home, letting her know that she was eligible to donate, or asking her to come because they were in short supply. She was given pins for the number of gallons of blood she has donated.

My first opportunity to donate blood was when I was a senior in high school. I was turned down. At the time I did not know there was a minimum weight requirement of 110 pounds. I only weighed 95 pounds my senior year.

In my debate class in college, my “persuasion” speech was to convince people to donate blood. I barely met the minimum weight requirements at this time and was the smallest person in the class. My strategy was to tell the other students that while I wanted to give blood, I couldn’t, but they should, because they met the requirements. I got an A on my speech.

Our fire station has started hosting two blood drives a year. The first one we had I was pregnant with Quinn. The second one was within 6 weeks after he was born, when new mothers are not allowed to donate. The third one I was still nursing him and decided I had enough liquids coming out of me at the time. A few months ago my church held a blood drive too. I wanted to donate then but I chickened out.

This past Saturday, we held our fourth blood drive. I weigh enough now. I haven’t recently given birth. I had no excuses.

I was nervous. I was scared of the big needle. I was afraid of passing out afterwards. I was tired of hearing the “peer pressure” from my husband. :-)
I was looking over the information and decided I just needed to do this---something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. And you know what? It wasn’t bad at all!

Here are some facts I’ve learned about blood and blood donating. Many of you may be regular donors. Some of you may be occasional donors. And some of you may have never donated before. Regardless, you will probably find these facts as interesting as I did.

Someone needs blood every two seconds.

Only 37 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood – less than 10 percent do annually.

94 percent of blood donors are registered voters.

Children being treated for cancer, premature infants and children having heart surgery need blood and platelets from donors of all types, especially type O.

A patient could be forced to pass up a lifesaving organ, if compatible blood is not available to support the transplant.

Thirteen tests (11 for infectious diseases) are performed on each unit of donated blood.

Shortages of all blood types happen during the summer and winter holidays.

Blood centers often run short of types O and B red blood cells.

The rarest blood type is the one not on the shelf when it’s needed by a patient.

There is no substitute for human blood.

46.5 gallons: amount of blood you could donate if you begin at age 17 and donate every 56 days until you reach 79 years old.

After giving birth to Quinn, I found out my blood type is O-. This blood type is found in only 7% of the US population. While it is considered the “universal donor”, O- blood types can only receive blood from other O- people. That means people like me should be donating often, especially since we can only receive our own type of blood. Donating one pint of blood can save up to 3 people.

I think I have “persuaded” myself.

I am going to become a regular donor!!


Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you! You are a "lifesaver". :)


Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

That's awesome!

My husband gives blood regularly but because of my MS, they won't take mine.

Ashley Beth said...

Congratulations on your first donation! Some blood banks will still take your blood if you don't meet the minimum weight requirement of 110 pounds. They just take a bag smaller than a pint. I've done it this way a couple of times when I didn't meet the requirement, but not all blood banks do it so people should call ahead and ask.

Kim said...

I am very proud of you :)

Anonymous said...

I kept telling you that it wasn't so bad and not too hard. I am so proud that you finally decided to give. You just might save my life one day (I hope not)!!!!

You are so very special to me and I am very proud to be your MOM.

Love you


Heather said...

I have given blood twice now at our blood drives at church. I am O+ (also universal). It is a big accomplishment for me. I don't mind needles,although I am not a big fan of them. I just am terrified of blood being drawn from my me. The thought of it makes me want to cry.
I say if Jesus shed his blood for us, a little pint to give to someone seems so small.
I am very proud of you. You helped save a life.

Diane Teague said...

I am proud of you for finally giving blood. What a blessing to some you may never know.

Great job!

Anonymous said...

It definitely takes courage to donate blood. I'm glad you could do it and follow in your mothers' great tradition.